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Union attacks June deadline for McCrone review

The educational Institute of Scotland has warned that a timescale of only five months for the review of the national teachers' agreement represents a "formidable challenge".

The original McCrone inquiry was given nine months to review teachers' pay and conditions of service 10 years ago.

But the committee tasked with carrying out a review of the agreement that emerged from that report - A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century - has been given until June to present its findings.

The review will be chaired by Gerry McCormac, principal of Stirling University (TESS, January 28).

Operating in the current climate of "unprecedented budget cuts" which would cause "deep damage to the very fabric of the Scottish education system", the McCormac review could "hardly be working under less propitious circumstances", warned EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith.

The other members of the committee have also been announced:

- Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh - solicitorbusinesswomanactress;

- Graham Donaldson - former senior chief inspector of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education;

- Isabelle Boyd - headteacher, Cardinal Newman High, Belshill;

- Sue Bruce - chief executive, Edinburgh City Council;

- Moira McCrossan - retired primary headteacherpast president of the EIS;

- Alf Young - journalisteconomic commentator.

Labour's education spokesman Des McNulty accused the Education Secretary, Michael Russell, of "abandoning proper practice" by setting up a review of the teachers' agreement, rather than going through the normal statutory negotiating procedures at the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

Margaret Smith, the Liberal Democrats' spokesperson on education, welcomed the setting up of the review, but warned that it must be "driven by what is in the best interests of Scottish education" and not serve as a "purely cost-cutting exercise".

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