The Association today attacked the agreement reached by the SNCT on 27 May relating to the "Role of the Chartered Teacher". The SNCT agreed a Code of Practice which the SSTA representatives vigorously opposed.
General Secretary, Ann Ballinger led the opposition:
"Since the first days of Chartered Teacher status the employers have been determined to assign duties to CT status. The SSTA has opposed this from the outset: the post-McCrone agreement is totally clear that the contractual duties of Chartered teachers are exactly the same as those of unpromoted teachers.
The employer's position is made the more transparent by the increasing number of authorities which are abolishing Principal Teacher (Subject) posts. The employers' reasoning is clear: they wish to save money by having CTs replace PTs despite the fact that the whole thrust of CT status is that it recognises ability in the classroom and makes no reference at all to management skills.
The Code avoids the use of the word "duties" but attempts inadequately to hide this by the use of terms such as
• "Brings a leadership role in leading learning and supporting colleagues"
• "Could introduce focused projects"
• "Might make a distinctive contribution"
In particular, the Code lays down "Professional Actions" which include:
• Supporting, advising and mentoring colleagues
• Leading curricular change and assessment
• Leading in-service on research work or educational development
All of the above are duties for Principal Teachers. The whole reasoning behind the code should be obvious to anyone who has any knowledge of what is happening in Scottish secondary schools at this moment. The work suggested in the Code will remove CTs from the classroom for a substantial amount of the working week, in total contravention of the concept of Chartered Teacher status."
The SSTA Congress debated the Code and following sustained and scathing criticism of the whole thrust of the Code, totally rejected it.
There are significant implications for SSTA members who are Chartered Teachers. Appendix 3 of the Code (toned down from earlier drafts following vigorous SSTA criticism) clearly states that Chartered teachers must "Ensure dialogue with school leaders (not identified) to identify ways in which they can (we assume "they" refers to the Chartered Teachers) contribute to raising achievement and to the professional development of colleagues.
The Code fails to recognise the fact that the "role" of the Chartered Teachers is totally defined by their work in their own classroom and nowhere else.
There can be no doubt that the code will be seen by many as an opportunity to attempt to assign management duties to Chartered Teachers through the back door. It remains the case: Chartered Teachers do not have duties beyond those of classroom teachers.
The SSTA is absolutely clear that CTs may undertake such a "role" but it must be on a voluntary basis. The dialogue may amount to no more than "I do not wish to be involved". A second approach may constitute harassment. Any Chartered Teacher member who is harassed or bullied over this issue is asked to contact the General Secretary as soon as possible.