Analysis: Aberdeen’s plan may be an interesting lesson for education chiefs

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COMPULSORY transfers usually occur as a result of a falling school roll or a drop in demand for a subject.

Under the current arrangements, on identifying a staff surplus in a department, the headteacher seeks a volunteer for career suicide.

Only in so-called sink schools, where a compulsory transfer is perceived to be a get-out-of-jail-free card, are Sidney Carton chalkies selflessly prepared to lay down their teaching lives for others. In the likely event that a voluntary transfer is not forthcoming, the rector informs the dominie with least continuous service that he will be compulsorily transferred under the “last in, first out” rule.

This anachronistic system of syphoning off staff has two advantages for teachers. Firstly, it is transparent. Secondly, the objective nature of the criterion means a vindictive headmaster has no opportunity to rid himself of a turbulent teacher.

Aberdeen Council’s possible changes to the compulsory transfer procedure are intriguing. If no volunteers can be found, an “objective assessment process” begins.

Aberdeen’s draft proposals have upset the EIS and the SSTA who are wary that this may be the start of performance management. However, the “last in – first out” method ignores the good work of a teacher with a few years’ experience who is never absent, and provides stimulating lessons.

It’s absurd that a highly effective teacher is shown the door while, conceivably, a complacent time-server enjoys security of tenure.

For other local authorities, Aberdeen’s bold move makes compulsive viewing.