Plan to introduce executive head teacher posts opposed by union members

Educational Institute of Scotland say its members overwhelmingly reject proposal by Argyll and Bute Council.

Plan to introduce executive head teacher posts opposed by union members iStock
Decision on introducing executive head teacher posts is due to be made in September.

Plans to introduce executive head teacher posts in Argyll and Bute have been opposed by 85% of local teaching union members, it has been claimed.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has said that only 19 members out of 385 responding to a survey supported the plans for school “collectives” to be introduced in the area.

That figure accounts for 48% of EIS members. Thirty-five per cent of respondents said they were in a promoted post, with the rest being main grade class teachers.

Argyll and Bute Council’s consultation on the plans, known as “Empowering our Educators”, closed on Thursday, March 31, with a decision due to be made in September.

The EIS said that it submitted a response to the consultation, which included statistical data and comments from members.

Alison Palmer, the local association secretary, said: “The results of this survey speak for themselves. Our members cannot see the benefit of the proposals, other than for the purposes of budget cuts. The posts, as they are proposed, will not encourage recruitment or retention in rural areas.

“The proposals are more likely to increase workload for all teaching staff. We have worked alongside parent councils and community councils for the past few months to ensure as many people as possible are consulted on this proposal. The overwhelming feedback has been categorical opposition to the proposals.

“If the local authority is really interested in what teachers’ concerns and suggestions for improvements are – then we would point them to our local election manifesto demands.

“We need investment in our schools in the form of more support in and for the classroom – more specialist ASN (additional support needs) provision, reduced class sizes and more time for teachers to plan quality learning, teaching and assessment.

“Everyone needs to continue to be encouraged to work collegiately and collaboratively, but this can only be done with investment.

“We maintain this proposal is a distraction from the underlying problems that it claims to seek to address. We hope the council won’t waste any more time or money on this wasteful proposal.”

Fears have previously been expressed that the plans could lead to the number of head teachers in Argyll and Bute reducing from 84 to 14.

That has been denied by the local authority, who said that school heads would be non-teaching under the new plans.

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: “We must be realistic about the challenges education services in Argyll and Bute face.

“Falling school roles and teacher shortages in the long-term put the education of our young people at risk, and failure to change will in effect be letting our young people down. We are grateful to everyone who took part in the consultation.

“Their feedback will be vital in shaping the proposals before they are submitted to members of the community services committee for a decision.”