When duties call

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Brian Hogg’s letter (7 February) on the proposed pay and conditions agreement for Scottish teachers is based on a misunderstanding of the package negotiated through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT).

He asserts that it would potentially increase teachers’ workload by compelling them to undertake additional administrative duties. This is absolutely incorrect.

The new proposed agreement explicitly states that teachers will not be asked to undertake administrative and non-teaching duties which are generally undertaken by support staff.

This is a strengthening of protection for teachers compared to the current agreement which states teachers will “not routinely” carry out these types of duties. The new Professional Statement offers stronger contractual protection for teachers, with the added benefit of protecting the valuable role of support staff who will continue to be responsible for administrative duties.

The new proposed agreement offers many additional benefits, including a significant improvement in supply teachers’ conditions and pay, salary protection for former chartered teachers, improved safeguards on teachers’ working hours/working week arrangements, a commitment to tackle excessive teacher workload and, for the first time, a firm commitment from all parties on maintaining teacher numbers to protect jobs.

While the 1 per cent increase on pay for the current year and the year ahead does not meet our aspirations, it is in line with other settlements across the public sector and is limited by current government pay policy.

The EIS is clear that a significant restorative pay award will have to be delivered to restore standards of living and to ensure teaching remains an attractive career choice for highly qualified graduates.

The EIS salaries committee, executive and council have overwhelmingly backed the package and are recommending that members should vote to accept it. Ultimately, it is a decision that all individual teachers who are members of the EIS will make during the ballot period.

As EIS salaries convener, I urge all members to read their ballot information closely, to visit our website for more information and, most importantly, to cast their vote in this important ballot.

Tom Tracey

EIS salaries committee

Edinburgh

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