Teachers’ and headteachers’ statutory entitlements are coming under a two-pronged attack from more ‘autonomy’ for schools and the impact of the austerity measures. Teaching Today examines what’s at stake.
Teachers in Scotland are facing immediate cuts to their pay and conditions as a result of the Scottish budget announcement for 2011/12.
The Scottish Government has asked the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) to negotiate a range of changes to pay and conditions from January 2011, which will mean:
a pay freeze in 2011/12 and 2012/13 for all employees (teachers and all associated professionals);
an increase in contact time for probationers to 0.9 FTE;
agreement that all supply teachers are paid on Point 1 of the Main Grade Scale and only for hours worked;
removal of salary conservation;
agreement that the teacher leave year is moved to 40 days per annum for the calculation of family leave entitlements; and
freeze entry to the Chartered Teacher Scheme.
In addition, Ministers announced in the budget that the McCrone Agreement, which sets out the conditions of service for teachers in Scotland, is to be subject to an Independent Review.
The Review is due to report by June 2011 with its recommendations being implemented in time for the start of the 2012/13 term.
Given the major budget cuts that Scotland is facing, it is likely that the Review will recommend downgrading teachers’ conditions of service.
The NASUWT is represented within the SNCT and will be arguing robustly for teachers pay and conditions to be maintained, arguing that, at a time when major educational reforms are being implemented, teachers need a working environment that allows them to operate as skilled professionals to maintain and keep standards.
As in other parts of the UK, the public is being softened up to support changes to teachers’ pay and conditions, with Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, urging ministers to reduce the amount of non-contact time teachers are allocated for planning, preparation and correction. This insinuation that teachers are somehow shirking their responsibilities if they are not in front of a class for the totality of the school day is characteristic of the propaganda being spread to justify cuts to the pay and conditions of public servants.
The threat of redundancies and impact on resources ushered in by the cuts is also being used as an excuse to reduce teachers’ pay and conditions. In the NASUWT’s view, these are exactly the circumstances that make it even more vital that the national framework is adhered to and protected. Education is key to rebuilding the economy and the highest standards of learning are achieved when children are taught by a workforce that has the pay and conditions to enable them to make full use of their skills and talents. The NASUWT will be mounting a campaign to defend pay and conditions.
The NASUWT is fighting to maintain national frameworks of pay and conditions across the UK
Without the national frameworks:
fairness, transparency, consistency and equality – the aims of a national framework – would be lost;
although education is a universal public service, teachers could be paid at different individual rates within and across schools and sectors;
there would be no national benchmark against which teachers could test the fairness of their pay and conditions of service and there would be limited redress against unreasonableness, unfairness and inequity;
teachers could be paid according to the results achieved by their pupils;
teachers’ rights to PPA time and other provisions could be removed;
a requirement to undertake unlimited levels of cover could be introduced;
the length of the working day and week could be extended or altered;
part-time teachers could be required to attend work on days they should not normally be present and without additional pay;
the entitlement to access pay and career progression could be removed, including progression on the main scale, threshold or upper pay spine. Pay allowances could also be awarded on a purely temporary basis;
individual contracts of employment for every teacher could be introduced.
Pay freeze – have your say
The NASUWT wants to hear your views on the planned two-year pay freeze for teachers and other public sector workers earning over £21,000 from 2011.
An online survey has been launched to gauge the views of the membership. The responses will inform the next steps in the Union’s Championing Education campaign.
The survey can be found at www.nasuwt.org.uk/PayParityNorthernIreland