It seems almost inconceivable that two years have passed since Peter Wright called me ‘Muggins’ and pinned the President’s badge on me –
-and what a two years they have been Following my last Congress address I was described in the editorial of a national newspaper as, ‘selfish and irresponsible,’ ‘living on the moon,’ and an example of ‘why members were deserting trade unions.’ I must have got something right.
Unfortunately, the concerns I raised last year still beset us. Pensions remain under attack. Despite the Association’s gesture of goodwill to the Scottish Government in suspending our work to contract in defence of our pensions, little if any, progress has been made. Alan McKenzie will expand on this in his General Secretary’s report.
During my tenure I have tried to visit as many schools as possible, from Orkney to the Scottish Borders, and members have repeatedly made it clear to me that Curriculum for Excellence, both in terms of what is required to deliver it and the workload implications of delivering it, remain a major cause of concern. Confusion and distress at the workload implications of that confusion are universally voiced, and in many cases, reflect real despair among teachers.
Nor have concerns regarding the ‘independent’ GTCs been resolved and teachers continue to be subject to the judgment either of ‘appointees,’ or by persons, whether or not they have a teaching background, who have simply volunteered their services. It seems that ‘independence’ means being ‘independent’ only of those who continue to fund the entire cost of the GTCs – Scotland’s teachers.
A serious re-evaluation of the SSTA’s relationship with this body is overdue. Read more