Bulletin 412/09 - 12 January 2009


The Association announces the retirement of the General Secretary, David Eaglesham, as of 31 December 2008. David has served as Assistant General Secretary and General Secretary since 1994 and 1996 respectively. We take this opportunity to wish David well in the future.

Jim Docherty, current Depute General Secretary, will hold the post of Acting General Secretary until the appointment of a new General Secretary in spring this year. Alan McKenzie (currently Professional Officer and Past President of the Association) will take up the Acting Depute General Secretary post for the same period.


Following the retiral of the General Secretary, the Association will appoint a successor as soon as possible. All members are eligible to apply for the post. An active involvement in the work of the Association is desirable but not essential.

The post is based in Edinburgh.

Candidates should be able to display leadership and innovation and have a genuine interest in education and the welfare of its practitioners.

The post of General Secretary is subject to current arrangements as provided by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, and in particular s.46 whereby the holder of the post of General Secretary requires to be appointed only following (if necessary) a ballot of membership. The procedure outlined here identifies therefore the preferred candidate for the post of General Secretary. A ballot is not required where there is only one valid nomination. The post is subject to further balloting of members every 5 years under current legislation.

The new General Secretary would be asked to take up post as soon as possible in 2009 following the completion of the above procedure. This is likely to be at the earliest in April 2009.

All applications must be made by post. An application pack, containing the application form, is available from Jim Docherty, Acting General Secretary, at the address above. An application form may be downloaded from the Association website. Applications close at noon on 30 January 2009. Interviews will be held in Edinburgh in February 2009. The Acting General Secretary is also able to answer questions from candidates as to the nature of the post.

The salary for the post is �72,000 at 1 January 2009.


Members may be given the opportunity to respond to the above survey (to be undertaken by the University of Edinburgh). The survey questionnaire is very much as used in 2006 and is exhaustive. Members are strongly encouraged to respond. The Association is happy to receive copies of responses from members. The survey includes separate questionnaires for headteachers and for school support staff.

The mechanism for the identification of those staff who should receive the questionnaire is shown on the information sheet provided for headteachers. The headteacher is asked to distribute the questionnaires on an alphabetical basis starting with the first teacher after the headteacher's own position on the alphabetical list. If questionnaires remain, the teachers at the top of the alphabetical list are then selected. The total number of questionnaires is a fixed proportion of the total number of teachers in the school. Questionnaires should be distributed to promoted, unpromoted, full-time, permanent and temporary staff. There is no comment as to the use of "supply" staff but such staff should not generally expect to receive questionnaires. ("Supply" means teachers called into the school for only very short term work).

Please note that the responses should be sent direct in the SAE provided to the University of Edinburgh.

It is this survey which more than anything will be seen to show the true state of behaviour in our schools.




Members whose schools are about to undergo a "normal" inspection (the proportionate inspection) should be given the opportunity to respond to an advance questionnaire provided by HMIE. Members are asked to note that the responses given are totally confidential. The school's headteacher does not see the responses. HMI may make comment on the findings obtained from the questionnaires but no names are ever mentioned in any formal or informal reports. Members are strongly encouraged to respond to the questionnaire. There is a great deal of useful information on inspections available on the HMIE website (


The third questionnaire of interest in this bulletin is the very important Job Sizing questionnaire which should have been completed prior to Job Sizing Day (1 August 2003). All promoted post holders are encouraged to keep a copy of the current questionnaire. Members who failed to retain a copy should request one from their authority. The original questionnaire will be of significant importance if the question of re-jobsizing arises. Promoted staff who took up their appointments after 1 August 2003 should request a copy of the questionnaire as completed by the authority and retain this.


Members are again (please!) asked to ensure that their contact details are correct. Perhaps forty members attempted to update their details in the early part of 2008. The office system crash caused these changes to be lost. Any members who suspect they may be in this group are asked to contact this office.

There will be important communications from this office during the early part of this year (including postal ballots). Members are asked to read all such communications thoroughly. Any enquiries might thereafter be sent to this office.

The use of the email address is encouraged.



In order to meet the timetable relating to the appointment of the new General Secretary, it may be necessary to delay the meeting of March Council. The pre-March Council meeting held in every District is often combined with the AGM. If members have received notification at this time of the date of the pre-March Council meeting or the AGM, this date should be taken as provisional. District Secretaries will contact members with the relevant date(s) in the normal way.


JIM DOCHERTY, Acting General Secretary