City's secondary teachers vote to strike against ‘damaging’ proposals

Strike action is scheduled to begin on June 22 across all of Dundee’s secondary schools.

Secondary school teachers in Dundee teachers vote to strike against ‘damaging’ proposals iStock
Teachers' union: 'Proposals would harm underfunded schools'

Dundee’s secondary school teachers have voted strongly in favour of strike action over Dundee City Council proposals, set to commence on June 22.

The proposals would remove subject specialist principal teachers from the authority’s secondary schools, grouping subjects into faculties instead.

Following a statutory industrial action ballot, Dundonian members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) voted strongly in favour of striking.

Of all union members balloted, 88% voted in favour of striking – with only 12% standing against action.

The EIS represents 519 teachers in Dundee Secondary schools. Of these, 320 returned their postal ballots papers within the ballot period, for a turnout of 62%.

The faculty system, which is already in place across most of Scotland, would group together subjects to be run by a ‘curriculum leader’.

David Baxter, Dundee EIS secretary, argues that while other authorities were saving money by implementing this system, Dundee’s proposals would “actually cost money to implement, with any potential savings coming many years in the future”.

Commenting on the result, Mr Baxter said the ballot “clearly shows the strength of feeling amongst secondary teachers about Dundee Council’s damaging proposals”.

All but two local authorities across Scotland have implemented the faculty system so far and the council’s plans would make Dundee the 31st.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The imposition of this structure belies any commitment to empowered schools on the part of Dundee Council and fails to factor in Lead Teacher roles which have been developed since these structures were first reviewed.

“At a time when the focus should be on supporting education recovery for young people, Dundee Council is proposing changes that will heap additional workload onto already over-burdened class teachers and remove vital expertise from Secondary subject departments.”

The council is preparing to move every secondary school into the new faculty system on a phased basis from August.

A spokesperson for Dundee City Council said: “Although a decision was taken to move to faculties in all secondary schools, it was agreed that head teachers – in consultation with their teachers and in partnership with senior officers – would decide on a faculty structure which best supports their school’s curriculum, leadership, and management requirements working within delegated staffing budgets.”

“Officers have met regularly over the past three years with local trade union representatives to discuss, and consult on, the implementation of faculty structures in secondary schools. There have been ongoing changes to proposals and structures because of feedback from trade unions during these planned meetings; updated proposals were always shared with trade unions.”