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Union welcomes new dialogue

The Education Minister also met the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association last week. The union later issued a statement which was markedly different from the tone set at its annual conference in April.

Then, delegates railed against the Government over Higher Still, target-setting and pay. David Eaglesham, the SSTA's general secretary, said teachers were "saddled with ever increasing demands and ever decreasing resources." But, following its meeting with the Minister, the SSTA said it welcomed the continuing dialogue with Brian Wilson, adding that "this provides a much more productive route than confrontation."

This conciliatory tone contrasts with the union's current ballot of its members on a possible boycott of Higher Still. The conference passed a resolution supporting a boycott if five key conditions on teaching arrangements, assessment and resourcing are not met. The ballot result is expected next week.

Mr Wilson described the meeting as constructive. "I think the genuine concerns about Higher Still and target-setting were addressed. I certainly agree we have to do more in communicating directly with teachers to ensure there are no more such misunderstandings, which lead to understandable misapprehensions."

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