Failing teachers could be forced to move and fill vacancies elsewhere

Teachers could be moved between schools under new proposals. Picture: Robert Perry
Teachers could be moved between schools under new proposals. Picture: Robert Perry
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FAILING teachers could be forced to transfer between schools under plans being considered by one of the country’s largest councils.

Aberdeen City Council could introduce a new ratings system which would allow headteachers to decide which staff should be moved to fill vacancies elsewhere in the city.

The council is considering the move amid the prospect of a legal challenge being mounted against the current practice of “last in, first out” which is currently used by most of Scotland’s councils.

It is understood the council is looking at a number of different options amid concerns the current rules could be open to accusations of ageism.

Unions have warned that moving teachers based on competency risks creating a “badge of failure” for those within the profession.

A leaked council document reportedly sets out how staff will be asked to show how they met a post’s requirements, with headteachers awarding a score out of 60 for qualifications and competence.

While schools would initially aim to find a volunteer for the vacant post, failure to do so would lead them to use an “objective assessment process”.

It is thought the system would follow the criteria set out in the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s Standard for Full Registration, the code which any teacher seeking full registration must meet.

Ann Ballinger, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, said that any move to introduce the new system in Aberdeen was likely to be challenged by teaching unions.

She said: “Normally, the system is last in, first out. In secondary schools it is usually the person with the shortest length of service who will be compulsorily transferred.

“There’s no formal development in Aberdeen yet, they are still in discussion. But if after the debate this becomes formal policy, then I think it would be subject to a challenge.”

She said any move to transfer teachers based on their competency risked creating a stigma within the profession.

“What happens if that teacher is not badly performing, but just did not get on with the headteacher?” she asked.

Drew Morrice, assistant secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said the new policy would risk teachers’ careers being blighted by the subjective decision of headteachers.

He said: “Staff would move about the city with a badge of failure. That’s not good for the morale of the individual or the city as a whole.”

It is understood a final decision will be made by Aberdeen City Council at a meeting taking place next week.

A spokeswoman for the local authority said: “We will not comment on a consultation draft. We are still consulting with the teaching unions regarding the most appropriate way forward.” Inverclyde Council is the only other authority which is known to have pursued changes to the “last in, first out” rule in recent times.

According to the EIS, the council has looked at considering the attendance and discipline records of teachers, although not their overall level of competence.