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More Scots teachers threaten strike action

Anxiety among teachers towards 'vague' curriculum. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Anxiety among teachers towards 'vague' curriculum. Picture: Ian Rutherford

MORE of Scotland’s teachers have threatened industrial action over the implementation of a controversial report which seeks to change their working arrangements.

Delegates at the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers’ (Nasuwt) annual conference backed calls to oppose the recommendations of the McCormac report, which they said is part of an “unwarranted assault on pay and conditions”.

Scotland’s largest teaching union, The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), has already threatened to strike if parts of the report are implemented against its will.

Named after Stirling University principal Professor Gerry McCormac, who led the review, the report recommended a series of changes to make working arrangements in Scotland’s schools more flexible, without changing teachers’ 35-hour week or their pay. The Nasuwt, which represents about 7,000 teachers in Scotland, said implementing the report’s recommendations would lead to a “further deterioration” in teachers’ working conditions.

Chris Keates, the union’s general secretary, said: “It has been proved time and time again that working conditions are inextricably linked to the quality of a child’s education.

“The McCormac report is stripping teachers of their professionalism and is a blueprint for increasing already excessive workload, further deepening the crisis in teacher morale.

“Education in Scotland has been seen rightly as among the best in the UK, but further unjustified attacks on conditions of service will only further threaten those distinct provisions.”

The McCormac report concluded the current system in Scottish schools is “overly prescriptive and inherently inflexible”, but delegates at a special EIS meeting last year described the study as “anti-teacher”.

Education secretary Mike Russell has already moved to implement the report’s recommendation to scrap the chartered teacher scheme, while he is looking at the proposal to use more “external experts” in schools.

Jane Peckham, Nasuwt Scotland Organiser, said: “The ongoing implementation of Curriculum for Excellence and the new National qualifications relies heavily on teachers’ goodwill and this is fast running out.

“If the McCormac report is implemented there will be even more changes to working conditions. This will, in turn, have an impact on pupil attainment as the already high teacher workload is likely to be further increased.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The McCormac Review recommendations are being given full and careful consideration by the Scottish Government.

“We are committed to keeping all the teaching unions, Cosla and other key players fully involved in that process and have been active in so doing.

“The recommendations relating to pay and conditions are being taken forward by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

“The SNCT, which involves unions as well as employers and the government, has agreed a plan, including a clear timetable for consideration of these recommendations.”

 
 
 

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