1. ASSISTANCE AND ADVICE FOR MEMBERS
Members are asked to note that there is much useful advice in the SSTA diary. Members' attention is drawn to the section relating to "Advice to Members" and in particular to the fact that the School Representative is not generally the first person to be approached if a member has a problem or seeks advice.
2. CONSULTATION ON THE NEXT GENERATION OF NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS IN SCOTLAND
Members are urged to take part in this consultation. The implications for the profession are clear to all. The Association will provide comment but it is vital that the views of the profession's practitioners are relayed to the Scottish Government.
Responses are best made online but there is the facility to make a return by post. The on-line questionnaire is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations by following the link to current consultations. Paper copies of the questionnaire can also be printed.
All questions contain space for written comment. Members are urged to use this facility. The design of the questionnaire is such that it is not possible to express all concerns simply by ticking the boxes available. The consultation closes on 31 October.
Please take the time to make your views count
3. COUNCIL 4 OCTOBER 2008
• Council heard reports on current SNCT issues, a wide range of matters relating to Curriculum for Excellence and from the STUC Committee.
• Council unanimously passed the following motion:
The SSTA welcomes the general principles of Curriculum for Excellence and the commitment to a secondary curriculum delivered by subject specialists. However, given the timescale for the publication of the revised "outcome and experiences", the lack of any timetabling models and the current reduction on CPD relating to introduction of Curriculum for Excellence in many local authorities, this Association calls for a delay in the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.
This would allow for:
• Proper analysis of trialling projects
• Central development of teaching materials where required
• Proper planning of interdisciplinary projects
• Decisions to be made about future exam structure before starting to implement courses
and would ensure that the intended first group of pupils would have the best educational experience possible under Curriculum for Excellence.
4. PRE-RETIREMENT COURSE
Three courses are arranged for 2009 as follows:
Saturday 25 April 2009 in Forres
Saturday 09 May 2009 in Stirling
Saturday 30 May 2009 in Glasgow
In previous years spouses/ partners have been permitted to attend. Regrettably, given the increase in the number of retirements, this is no longer possible.
The Forres venue is added only for 2009. It is intended to assist members residing in Eilean Siar, Shetland, Orkney, Highland, Moray and Aberdeenshire. Members in Aberdeen City will be next to be allocated any remaining places. This venue has only a very limited number of places.
Places generally will be offered on the basis of:
1. Members unsuccessful in gaining a place in 2008
2. Members retiring in 2009
3. Otherwise in order of receipt of a completed application form.
A poster advertising the events and giving further details will be in schools shortly. The closing date for applications (for those only in categories 1 and 2 above) is 31 January 2009. No applications can be accepted after 1 April 2009.
5. HEADTEACHER RECUITMENT AND RETENTION RESEARCH
The Association is participating in the Research Advisory Group established to oversee important research into issues surrounding headteacher recruitment and retention. All headteachers and a representative sample of teachers have been invited to take part in the research. If you have received a questionnaire, the Association would encourage you to participate in this important exercise. The closing date for the headteachers' survey has been extended to 22 October 2008, whilst the response date for the teachers' survey has been extended to 31 October 2008.
6. DIRECT DEBIT PAYMENTS IN DECEMBER
Members who pay their subscription by monthly direct debit are advised of the following payment dates for December's subscription. The Association will input data to BACS on Monday 29 December which will be processed on Tuesday 30 December for payment on Wednesday 31 December.
7. RETIRED MEMBERS
Members who are about to retire are asked to note that they may maintain membership of the Association after retiral at one half of the usual rate. Members in this situation should contact this office giving their retirement date. If it has not already been done, membership will be transferred to the home address and the school membership deleted. Retiring members who have paid a full rate subscription for the whole year will receive a rebate by cheque. Retired membership entitles the member to all the usual services for members except access to those external services limited by age, such as access to the travel insurance scheme. Such members receive all information at their home address. Members who have retired during the course of this year who have not informed the Association (and hence who may not be currently benefiting from the reduced subscription rate) are asked to notify the office.
It is helpful if all retired members (as well as those continuing in employment) give details of any email address.
8. LAWLINE SERVICE
Members are reminded of the Association's free legal advisory service, Lawline. Morton Fraser Solicitors provide SSTA members with a free confidential legal advice by telephone or email. The service permits members to seek legal advice on any issues affecting them (excluding employment matters which should be directed to the General Secretary). The advice given is prompt, comprehensive, impartial and covers Scots law as well as other jurisdictions. Advice can cover consumer matters, domestic issues, contracts, family law, estates and travel to name but a few areas. To make use of the service you can telephone on 07770 748556 or email at: Lawline@morton-fraser.com.
9. SPEAKING TO MOTIONS: WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN MEMBERS
The President is offering an informal workshop in the SSTA Office on Saturday 1 November. If you are interested in this (or a subsequent) workshop please email Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the first workshop is for women members.
10. FIT GROUP (FUTURE IN TEACHING)
A new group for teachers in their first 10 years of teaching will meet on the 8 November in Glasgow. If you are interested, please contact the office before 3 November.
11. CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR CLOSURE OF THE SSTA OFFICE
Members are asked to note that the Association office will close at noon on Friday 19 December and will re-open for normal business after New Year on Monday 5 January 2009. A limited service will operate on Monday 22 December from 10am to 3pm.
ANN BALLINGER President
JIM DOCHERTY Acting General Secretary