TEACHERS have overwhelmingly rejected plans for a new generation of schools where primary and secondary pupils would be taught at the same site.
A number of “all-through” schools, which could accommodate pupils aged three to 18, are planned by eight councils – Aberdeen, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, Highland, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, and Perth and Kinross.
But a poll of teachers in Dumfries by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union found 85 per cent would prefer to retain the current set-up of four secondary schools, but with integrated timetables allowing pupils to move between schools to study specific subjects.
A second option, which has been proposed by the council, would see the creation of a “superschool” for all S4-S6 pupils, while keeping the existing four secondaries for those in S1-S3. A third option would see a new school for S4-S6, with children aged P6 upwards using the four existing secondaries.
John Dennis, EIS local association secretary, said: “Many made clear in the survey that they value being in a six-year secondary school and that their job satisfaction, their expertise, their conditions of service and their promotion prospects would all be damaged if they were to work in a burgh school under option two.”
According to the EIS, many teachers think the case for “all-through” schools is “unconvincing”, with worries expressed about how pupils would cope. About 100 teachers responded to the EIS poll.
Mr Dennis added: “Teachers clearly hope that [the council] will choose option one.”
Last month, delegates at the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association annual conference backed an emergency motion demanding that the Scottish Government “exercise caution in encouraging the proliferation of three-18 schools”.
Members feared that three-18 campuses, by reducing the overall number of schools, would result in fewer jobs and damage those communities left without a school.
Councillor Gail MacGregor, chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s education committee, said: “I am glad that a vigorous debate is taking place around the Dumfries Learning Town project and what gives the best potential opportunities for our children.
“I have, however, sought clarification from the EIS as to why the survey was carried out prior to the publication of the learning and teaching report, and why only secondary teachers were involved in their survey when it also affects primary teaching staff as well as non-teaching staff.”