Bulletin 409/08 7 June 2008

BULLETIN

Bulletin no 409/08 7 June 2008 Distribution One per Member

1. CONGRESS 2008

The following are the main items from Congress 2008 held in Peebles Hotel Hydro, on 16 and 17 May.

(a) Presidential Address

The President, Ann Ballinger, addressed Congress on the theme of Rights & Responsibilities. The full text of the Presidential Address can be found on the Association website at https://ssta.org.uk.

(b) General Secretary's Address

The General Secretary, David Eaglesham, addressed Congress on Recognition. His report in full can be accessed on the Association's website, https://ssta.org.uk.

(c) Life Membership

Life Membership of the Association was conferred on Douglas Amos, Lothian Area, Matthew Maclver from GTCS and George Stocks, Highland District

(d) Finance Committee

The Report of the Finance Committee and Accounts for 2007 were approved. A copy of the Report and Accounts will be sent to all school representatives with this Bulletin and may be consulted by members.

The Financial Statement to 31 December 2007, as required by law, appears later in this Bulletin.

(e) Guests at Congress

The Association's representatives were joined by guests from Scottish Borders Council and from the political parties along with teacher unions from throughout the UK and overseas. The Scottish Borders Council generously provided a Civic Reception.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, addressed Congress in a Keynote Speech and answered questions from delegates.

(f) Motions to Congress

The following motions were approved by Congress.

MOTION A

Congress believes that the intention of the Scottish Government to seek views on the future of Qualifications at SCQF levels 4 & 5 when not all Curriculum for Excellence Draft Outcomes and Experiences had been published is unacceptable and shows lack of strategic thought.

Congress demands that all consultation on changes in assessment systems is carried out only when proposals for the revised curriculum are fully developed.

MOTION B

SSTA calls upon the Scottish Government to ensure that prior to attempts to implement ‘A Curriculum for Excellence', proper resourcing, suitable and appropriate materials, training and funding are in place in schools.

MOTION C

This Association expresses alarm that "Curriculum for Excellence" will not achieve its aims because of lack of direction from successive Governments. Congress believes that the lack of engagement with teachers is due to the poor methods of disseminating information to schools.

MOTION D

Despite repeated affirmations that "Better Behaviour, Better Learning" is having a positive impact on Scottish schools, this Association notes with concern that instances of unacceptable behaviour by pupils are increasing.

We urge the Scottish Government to implement effective strategies to ensure that the learning experience of all children is positive.

MOTION E

This Association welcomes the additional support and funding for adult learners of English announced recently by the Scottish Government and calls on the Scottish Government and Local Authorities to develop a clear and workable strategy to help and support those pupils for whom English is an additional language and who are enrolled in secondary schools across Scotland.

MOTION F

This Association calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that staffing levels in Scotland's schools are maintained at a level sufficient to deliver an appropriate curriculum for pupils of all abilities and stages.

MOTION G

This Association is concerned about potential workload implications for Principal Teachers of English and Maths should the Curriculum for Excellence proposals on Literacy and Numeracy lead to a widening of management responsibility in these areas across the whole school. We would call on the Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee to monitor the evolving situation.

MOTION H

This Association is concerned that classroom assistants are not employed in sufficient numbers to release teachers from non teaching duties as outlined in Annexe E of TP21, and calls on local authorities to employ sufficient classroom assistants to enable teachers to have ‘time to teach'.

MOTION I

The Scottish Government has repeatedly stated its full commitment to all aspects of A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century. They must therefore ensure that Local Authorities do not use the relaxation of budget ring-fencing to reduce the number of support staff in Scottish Schools.

MOTION J

This Association calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that all Local Authority schools meet or exceed the standards required by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1992).

MOTION K

Congress calls on the Scottish Government to remind all Local Authorities of their duty of care to staff and pupils during the transition phase of a new-build project or major refurbishment and to require that Local Authorities must ensure that adequate time is allocated for the packing, removal and unpacking of resources to allow quality teaching to resume as quickly as possible following occupation of a building.

MOTION L

Congress calls on the Scottish Government to initiate, with urgency, an independent review of Initial Teacher Education and to ensure that the review body should contain a significant proportion of practising teachers.

MOTION M

This Association expresses concern about the method of deployment of Probationer teachers in schools and the potentially damaging effects on Probationers, pupils, subject departments and newly qualified teachers. Congress calls on the Scottish Government to undertake a wide ranging review of the operation of the probationary arrangements to ensure that these deliver the optimum outcome.

MOTION N

This Association is concerned about the number of Newly Qualified Teachers who are not appointed to permanent posts after their probationary period and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure a career structure which will give continuity of employment to NQTs.

MOTION O

This Association calls upon all Local Authorities to advertise unpromoted teaching vacancies timeously to avoid causing long-term damage to our education system.

MOTION P

This Association congratulates the Scottish Government on implementing SSTA policy to reduce to zero the number of political appointees on the GTCS. In order to further foster this spirit of democracy and accountability, the SSTA calls upon the Scottish Government to ensure that serving teachers elected to the GTCS have a statutory right to paid time off to represent the profession on all Council business.

MOTION Q

This Association rejects recommendation 5 of the report "Valuable Assets - a general formal investigation into the role and status of classroom assistants in Scottish Schools", published by the Equal Opportunities Commission believing that the notion that classroom assistants should come under the registration and regulation of the GTCS is likely to lead to the undermining of teacher professionalism in Scotland.

MOTION R

Congress welcomes the developing educational links between Scotland and Malawi, and congratulates those schools and teachers from Scotland who have formed partnerships with schools in Malawi, as well as other countries abroad.

Congress calls on the Scottish Government and local authorities to continue to foster such links which are to the undoubted benefit of pupils, teachers and their communities.

EMERGENCY MOTION

In the light of the recent information provided by the Scottish Government on the proposed consultation on the future arrangements for National Qualifications and the information provided so far on the Curriculum for Excellence programme, Congress now believes that the Scottish education system and the future of young people in Scotland are being used as pawns subject to the whims of different administrations who are paying only lip-service to the need for meaningful consultation with the teaching profession

2. FINANCIAL STATEMENT

 INCOME        
 Membership subscriptions

£1,070,239
 Other income

 165,176
   1,235,415
   
 EXPENDITURE  
 *Annual Operating Costs  

£1,268,651

 Appropriations  
 SURPLUS/(DEFICIT)      (33,236)

 1,235,415

   
 *including:  
 In respect of General Secretary

          Salary

          Superannuation and NIC

           Employeese Superannuation Contributions

          Key Person's life policy premium

           Essential user's car allowance

Honraria to elected Office Bearers:

          General Treasurer

          Minutes Secretary

          President

74,106

84'940

4,446

2,549

822

6,800

4,900

2,000

  £180,563

   

3. AUDITORS REPORT

We have audited the financial statements of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association for the year ended 31 December 2007 which comprise the Cash Flow statement, the Income and Expenditure Account, the Balance Sheet and related notes. The financial statements have been prepared under the historical cost convention and the accounting policies set out therein and the requirements of the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities.

This report is made solely to the Association's members, as a body. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might state to the Association's members those matters we are required to state to them in an auditor's report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the Association and the Association's members as a body, for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed.

Respective responsibilities of the members of the Finance Committee and auditors As described in the statement of Finance Committee's responsibilities members of the Finance Committee are responsible for the preparation of the financial statements in accordance with Trade Union Law and United Kingdom Accounting Standards (United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice).

Our responsibility is to audit the financial statements in accordance with relevant legal and regulatory requirements and International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland). We report to you our opinion as to whether the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of the Association's affairs. We also report to you if, in our opinion, the Report of the Finance Committee is not consistent with the financial statements, if the Association has not kept proper accounting records or if we have not received all the information and explanations we require for our audit.

We read the Report of the Finance Committee and consider the implications for our report if we become aware of any apparent misstatements within it.

Basis of audit opinion We conducted our audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland) issued by the Auditing Practices Board. An audit includes examination, on a test basis, of evidence relevant to the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. It also includes an assessment of the significant estimates and judgements made by the members of the Finance Committee in the preparation of the financial statements, and of whether the accounting policies are appropriate to the Association's circumstances, consistently applied and adequately disclosed.

We planned and performed our audit so as to obtain all the information and explanations which we considered necessary in order to provide us with sufficient evidence to give reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatement, whether caused by fraud or other irregularity or error. In forming our opinion we also evaluated the overall adequacy of the presentation of information in the financial statements.

Opinion In our opinion the financial statements give a true and fair view, in accordance with United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice, of the state of the Association's affairs as at 31 December 2007 and of its deficit for the year then ended and have been properly prepared in accordance with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and the information given in the Report of the Finance Committee is consistent with the accounts.

Tindell, Grant & Co Registered Auditors 6 Munro Road Springkerse Stirling FK7 7UU

4. STATEMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH S 32A 6(A) OF THE ACT

"A member who is concerned that some irregularity may be occurring, or have occurred, in the conduct of the financial affairs of the union may take steps with a view to investigating further, obtaining clarification and, if necessary, securing regularisation of that conduct.

The member may raise any such concern with such one or more of the following as it seems appropriate to raise it with: the officials of the union, the trustees of the property of the union, the auditor or auditors of the union, the Certification Officer (who is an independent officer appointed by the Secretary of State) and the police.

Where a member believes that the financial affairs of the union have been or are being conducted in breach of the law or in breach of rules of the union and contemplates bringing civil proceedings against the union or responsible officials or trustees, he should consider obtaining independent legal advice."

A copy of the full financial report has been issued to each school representative and will be available for inspection. Any member wishing an additional copy should write to the General Secretary.

5. MEMBERSHIP

It would be extremely helpful if members who are retiring at this time of year would notify the Association office of the fact. Members who transfer school should also let the office know of their new school details.

SSTA would take this opportunity to wish those members retiring a long, healthy and happy retirement or, in the case of those transferring to another school, a stress-free transition and continued career success.

Office staff would be grateful to all members who move home address during the summer to contact with a note of their new private address.

On behalf of the President and Council, the Association wishes all its members a well-deserved restful and enjoyable summer vacation.

ANN BALLINGER, President DAVID EAGLESHAM, General Secretary

Published on 08 October 2008 - Bulletin
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