Two sides of the coin for the SSTA

19th May 2006 at 01:00
an the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association look both ways simultaneously? The union that prides itself on its independent stance and advocacy of issues in secondary schools is strongly opposed to the advent of faculties and the loss of subject principal teachers. Curriculum leaders across subjects make no sense, threaten academic standards and place even more burdens on unpromoted staff, delegates claimed at last weekend's annual conference. There is resentment that posts within the same financial pot have been switched to the primary sector.

Yet the union continues to float alternative management arrangements for local authorities. Since there is too much bureaucracy with 32 of them and not enough positive effect on young people, surely they could be reduced in number? These are precisely the arguments deployed by local authorities and many secondary heads who find it rather bizarre to try to run a school with 16 subject-based middle managers.

The principal SSTA motion on faculties makes some sense. This is an important development and it should be subject to an independent evaluation, just as other aspects of the post-McCrone agreement. The union and its ranks of principal teachers argue this was never part of the deal.

But it is here none the less, possibly to stay.

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