Leader: Time for teachers to join modern world

THE 2001 teachers' pay agreement, known as the McCrone deal, was a long overdue recognition that one of the most important groups in Scottish society had slipped behind their peers in terms of their pay and conditions. As a result teachers were given a 23 per cent salary increase, including a guaranteed 35-hour working week.

A decade later and Cosla, which represents Scotland's 32 councils, argues it is time for change, proposing pay related to teaching standards; in-service training during the school holidays, not in term time when it disrupts schooling and is inconvenient for parents; and an end to the 35-hour week. Teachers' unions are horrified, with the Educational Institute of Scotland threatening strike action. It is to be hoped they do not resort to this, as the only people who would suffer would be the pupils they are charged with educating. Controversial they may be for teachers, but Cosla's ideas will be seen by people in other walks of professional life as reasonable and in line with modern employment practice.

Flexible working, performance measures and being "customer-centred" are all part of being a professional. That was what the McCrone deal was intended to deliver. These proposals mark the final step along that road.