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Win shows primary heads can fight job-sizing salary cuts

Leaders of primary headteachers have issued a warning that the job-sizing of promoted posts should not be regarded as cut and dried.

The Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland, which held its annual conference in Edinburgh last week, has won a case against Glasgow City Council for cutting the salary of one of its members after her post was job-sized.

"It sends out a signal that this can be challenged and it can be won," said Bill Milligan, the association's professional advice convener.

The association engaged a solicitor to fight its corner and the council eventually agreed to move the head from point 10 to point 12 on the salary scale, a pay differential of more than pound;4,000. It was backdated to November 2004, when she lodged her formal grievance.

The case turned on whether sufficient account had been taken of the headteacher's responsibilities for additional support needs when the post was assessed. The council has indicated to the association that it will now review the position of heads in four other primaries.

Job-sizing remains one of the most contentious issues for heads. Tom Burnett, the news AHDS president, called for a re-think, saying that the exercise "has reduced the clarity of career structures and financial incentives to seek headship".

Peter Peacock, the Education Minister, promised to investigate why fewer people were applying to become heads, although he said "we are not yet in a crisis position because we are still getting good quality applicants".

Mr Peacock also confirmed the pledge that there would be a review of job-sizing, but only when the exercise had a chance to become "fully settled".

* Staff in primary schools need training in "de-escalation" and physical restraint techniques, the conference heard.

* "Nobody I know believes that having 32 education authorities in Scotland is sustainable," Peter Peacock, the education minister, said. He wants more joint working.

* The Scottish Executive could begin to exercise more control over local authorities because next May's council elections will return large numbers of inexperienced councillors, Charles Gray, education spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, warned.

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