The recurring theme of my last several District Secretary Reports, and indeed motions to Congress, was that of ‘Groundhog Day,’ ie, that each year we faced again the same issues of indiscipline, large classes and unrealistic expectations of teachers, in addition to ongoing pernicious issues such as workplace bullying and intimidation. There was, several years ago, a brief moment when we thought things might be changing –
The McCrone Agreement with its recommendation of ‘time and place working’ allowed teachers at least a modicum of control of where and when they undertook their duties (provided of course, nobody wanted them for anything else). Working Time Agreements at least in theory allowed teachers the discretion to prioritise their commitments. Annexe E, even if never fully implemented, was there to protect us from undertaking unreasonable or inappropriate duties. ‘Collegiality’ became almost a buzz word.
The Teacher Induction Scheme, admired across the world, transformed the experiences of probationary teachers and future generations of Scotland’s children, with guarantees of support put in place and a reasonable work load accepted as a right.
Maximum class sizes of twenty in S1 and S2 English and Maths seemed a good start – what a difference that made for teachers and pupils alike.
The Chartered Teacher Scheme, also admired in other countries, might not have been without its flaws; however, it did guarantee that, after many hours of additional work and no small expense, teachers could aspire to professional salary levels while continuing to work in the classroom to improve outcomes for young people. Read more