Union to quiz 8,000 on deal

The Educational Institute of Scotland, so often the sole cheerleader for the teachers' agreement on pay and conditions along with the Scottish Executive, has now begun to raise serious doubts about one of its consequences.

The union announced yesterday it has commissioned a survey on the new promoted-post structure mushrooming in many secondary schools, and has said it may not be able to cope with some of the educational changes ahead.

The EIS is contracting with TNS System 3 to conduct the poll of 8,000 of its secondary members, and the results will be known in March 2005.

But the outcome has already been anticipated by Ronnie Smith, the union's general secretary, who said this week that many teachers, promoted and unpromoted, have been expressing serious concerns on several fronts.

"Most schools are moving to a position where there are fewer promoted posts than in the past. This means, for example, grouping together a number of subject areas, in particular for the new principal teacher post.

"It can mean that a principal teacher will have responsibility for a number of subject areas, including some in which he or she is neither qualified nor knowledgeable.

"As schools are about to embark on major changes in arrangements for the curriculum and assessment, there are serious doubts about the capacity of the new structures to cope," he said.

Mr Smith also said many of his members are becoming increasingly worried at the number of responsibilities being transferred to classroom teachers, such as involvement with support for learning, guidance, student support and probationers.

"The closer working together of all teachers in the school was one of the major elements to emerge from the 21st century agreement," he said.

"However, teachers did not expect that this would mean substantial areas of work, traditionally the responsibility of promoted post-holders, being added to the already substantial list of duties of unpromoted teachers."

Bill MacGregor, secretary of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland, said his members shared such concerns and had been pressing for a review of management systems, including the job-sizing exercising, for some time. The association is to meet the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland early in the new year to agree a common approach to the Executive.

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