Too many questions

10th June 2005 at 01:00
At a recent meeting in Aberdeenshire, I apologised to members of the Educational Institute of Scotland who were present, including Jack Barnett and Pat Flanagan, for any offence caused by what I regarded a bit of inter-union banter in my letter to The TES Scotland of May 20.

I would point out, in the passing, that the threat to the role of the principal teacher emerged with the millennium review - at least six years ago.

However, the substance of my letter concerned the view of management structures being taken by some employers.

For years, teachers have worked very hard in response to exhortations to raise standards. They now see a regime being imposed on them which will drive standards down.

Teaching has become a much more complex, diverse and accountable job than it was when I started in 1970. Teachers have come to expect, and are entitled to receive, support in the execution of their many tasks. Some of that support is now to be withdrawn.

Why are these things happening? Why are teachers being handicapped? Why are pupils to be disadvantaged? No credible explanation has been offered.

Introducing faculty systems has been described as "modernisation". The same was said about the poll tax, but both have been tried before and found wanting.

Is there really no one who is able to explain to teachers why our secondary education system is being wounded in this way? Is there no one who can reveal to us the benefits we have missed? Is this really just another political whim?

Graham Souter District convener Aberdeenshire SSTA

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