Role of Former PT in Faculty Arrangements

CHANGES TO THE CONDITIONS OF PTs WHO DO NOT RECEIVE OR ACCEPT OFFERS OF NEW FACULTY POSTS

It remains the Association view that the management of subject departments in Scottish schools should be undertaken by PTs qualified in the relevant subject. Notwithstanding this, it is clear that PTs are now being appointed to manage subjects in which they hold no qualification.

It has come to the attention of the Association that employers (or individual headteachers) may be threatening that the employment position of current subject PTs is under threat. The following is offered as advice for members in such positions. For ease of reference a "faculty PT" is any PT appointed with duties in more than one current teaching department.

Contract

The headteacher is not the employer. Where there is the necessity for consultation, the teacher may contact the authority directly. There have been a number of cases where severe problems have arisen because headteachers have attempted to suggest that they can enforce amendments to the current contractual arrangements. Such a suggestion is in error.

The contract of employment is between the teacher and the authority and cannot be substantially amended without the teacher's agreement. If there is to be any variation to the contract, there must be consultation and the new contractual terms must be provided timeously and in writing.

It should be noted that, despite frequent attempts to so state, the post-McCrone agreement made no reference to the appointment of faculty PTs or to the reduction in the number of subject PTs.

PTs not offered Faculty posts

The situation in respect of such teachers depends upon what the employer intends to do contractually to the PT. There are at least three distinct possibilities which have been proposed throughout the country and these are outlined below.

  1. The most obvious and only completely acceptable possibility is to leave the existing PTs with their current contractual duties when a faculty PT is appointed. The faculty PT takes no responsibility for the running of the department at all and the current PT continues as before. The faculty PT is however expected to take over the running of the department when the current PT leaves.
  2. The next possibility is that the faculty PT is appointed "line manager" to the current PT and is involved in decision making within the department. This is the most commonly observed option. If the existing PT objects to any instruction from the faculty PT, then the normal rules of grievance apply and the relevant procedure should be invoked if necessary.
  3. There has also been the suggestion that the faculty PT might take over the running of the department completely and that the current PT becomes (effectively) an unpromoted teacher, albeit on a conserved salary. If this is ever suggested, members experiencing this threat should contact Head Office immediately.
  4. The former PT may be asked to retain only certain duties e.g. oversight of S1/2 courses. In such cases, there must be discussion between the employer (usually in the person of the HT) and the PT. As long as the PT's salary is conserved, it is likely that the PT can be required to accept the reduced remit.

Attempts to force current PTs to accept faculty PT posts

This may be attempted. Such a change would constitute variation of contract and there are legal implications. Again, members who face this problem should contact Head Office for advice.

The relevance of jobsizing

The contractual duties of teachers are laid down in a number of ways; relevant SNCT Circulars and letters of appointment being the two most obvious. There can be no doubt, however, that the jobsizing return made by any promoted teacher constitutes another element of contract. Hence, any task which a PT has been specifically forbidden from including in the jobsizing return is not a contractual duty.

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