Bulletin no 397/05 10 June 2005
Distribution One per Member
1. CONGRESS 2005
The following are the main items from Congress 2005 held in Peebles on 13 and 14 May.
(a) Presidential Address
The President, Alan McKenzie, addressed Congress on the theme of “Tell it as it is” and the Association's commitment to the education service in Scotland through “the hard work, dedication, discipline and single-mindedness” of its membership. 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 the success of the Association as a professional and trustworthy educational force and its continued work to maintain and improve the conditions of all secondary teachers working in Scotland. 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 Nora Bruce, Douglas Cousin, Malcolm Gracie and Bill Walker.
(d) Finance Committee
The Report of the Finance Committee and Accounts for 2004 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 2004, as required by law, appears later in this Bulletin.
(e) Guests at Congress
The Association's representatives were joined by Peter Peacock, Minister for Education and Young People, guests from the political parties, teacher unions from throughout the UK and oversees and Scottish Borders Council, who generously provided a Civic Reception. The Chief Executive of SQA, Anton Colella, addressed Congress in a Keynote Speech and answered questions from delegates.
(f) Motions to CongressThe following motions were approved:
This Association deplores the attempts being made by some Local Authorities to maximise class sizes and class contact time in an effort to make budget savings, whilst simply ignoring the 35 hour working week for teachers.
This Association requests that the Scottish Executive takes immediate action to ensure that all Scottish local authorities implement, as a matter of urgency, all provisions of Annex E to “A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century”, which should have been in place by 1 April 2004.
This Association congratulates those Scottish local authorities who have successfully committed themselves to improving the long-term health of pupils in Scotland's Secondary schools.This Association would also encourage the Scottish Executive to ensure that the necessary funding is deployed by all Scottish local authorities to ensure that high quality nutritional food is made available in all Scottish schools.
Congress calls on the Scottish Executive to facilitate direct links between schools and colleges in Scotland and partner institutions in developing countries throughout the world.Such links would enable:
• Fund raising and sponsorship on the part of Scottish establishments
• Curriculum links between schools and colleges
• Exchange visits
Congress welcomes the launch of the ‘One Scotland – Many Cultures' campaign and pledges to support it in order to tackle racism within Scottish Education and society.However, Congress is concerned that steps taken to promote antiracism in Scotland's schools are being undermined by the current asylum policies as they affect young people.
Congress calls on the Scottish Executive and Audit Scotland to investigate and report on the effectiveness and cost efficiency of the various formats of electronic pupil reports currently being used in Scotland's secondary schools.
The Association notes the proposals contained within the Curriculum Review Group Publication “A Curriculum for Excellence”. We also note, with great concern, that only 1 member of the Review Group is a practising secondary teacher. The Association calls on SEED to ensure that those involved in the implementation of the proposals are largely experienced, practising classroom teachers.
Congress congratulates the Scottish Executive for recognising that aspects of behaviour patterns amongst young people in the wider community have a major impact on behaviour patterns within secondary schools. Congress believes that there is no single or simple solution which can be implemented in order to effectively deal with all behaviour problems in schools. Congress affirms that policies directed at tackling the underlying socio-economic problems, which in part cause behaviour problems in schools, are to be welcomed as part of the solution, and reiterates that a properly resourced Guidance system in secondary schools is equally part of that solution.
In view of the announcement to instigate an Audit of the McCrone Agreement in the light of “Best Value”, this Congress demands that the Scottish Executive launches an identical audit to measure the amount of time consumed by the small minority of badly behaved youngsters impairing the learning process of the great majority of motivated and interested pupils.
Congress condemns those politicians and others who for their own ends seek to exaggerate the misbehaviour of young people in our communities whilst underplaying the extent of indiscipline within our schools and the impact that it has on staff and pupils.Congress therefore calls upon politicians and the media to adopt a realistic and consistent approach towards these issues.
This Association believes that the management structures being imposed on secondary schools will cause immense and irrevocable damage to the education of current and future generations of children in Scottish schools. In consequence, the Association calls on HMIE to investigate the educational consequences of the changes to management structures and to report publicly on their findings.
This Association condemns any attempt to dilute the level of qualification required for eligibility to teach in secondary schools in Scotland. The Association affirms its commitment to a secondary curriculum delivered by specialist teachers qualified in the relevant secondary subjects and will resist by all possible means any attempt to dilute the level of qualifications required to teach in secondary schools.
This Association believes that the Jobsizing Toolkit has significantly failed to determine a realistic salary level for the promoted posts held by many teachers in Scotland. The SSTA demands that the SNCT institute an immediate and comprehensive review to address the shortcomings of the Jobsizing toolkit.
EMERGENCY MOTION – PENSIONS
This Association views with alarm the current proposals for teachers' pensions and commits itself to resist these proposals by all possible means including strike action.
2. COUNCIL 14 MAY 2005
The following members were elected to Executive and Finance committees:
3. FINANCIAL STATEMENT
|*Annual Operating Costs
|In respect of General Secretary:
Superannuation and NIC
|essential user's car allowance
|Honoraria to elected Office Bearers:
The Association does not maintain a political fund
4. AUDITOR'S REPORT
We have audited the accounts of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association for the year ended 31 December 2004 which comprise pages 5 to 12. The accounts have been prepared under the historical cost convention and the accounting policies set out therein. Respective responsibilities of the members of the finance committee and auditors Members of the Finance Committee are responsible for the preparation of the accounts in accordance with Trade Union Law and United Kingdom Accounting Standards.Our responsibility is to audit the accounts in accordance with relevant legal and regulatory requirements and United Kingdom Auditing Standards. We report to you our opinion as to whether the accounts 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 accounts, 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 opinionWe conducted our audit in accordance with United Kingdom Auditing Standards issued by the Auditing Practices Board. An audit includes examination, on a test basis, of evidence relevant to the amounts and disclosures in the accounts. It also includes an assessment of the significant estimates and judgements made by the members of the Finance Committee in the preparation of the accounts, 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 accounts 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 accounts. Opinion In our opinion the accounts give a true and fair view of the state of the Association's affairs as at 31 December 2004 and of its surplus for the year then ended and have been properly prepared in accordance with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.Tindell, Grant & Co
6 Munro Road
FK7 7UU11 May 2004
5. 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.
6. PROBATIONERS' CONFERENCE 2005
This year the Probationers' Conference will be held at Stirling Council Chambers on Saturday 29 October. Full details will be sent to schools in due course and also posted on the Association's website.
It would be extremely helpful if members who are retiring at this time of year would notify the Association offices 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.
ALBERT MCKAY, President
DAVID EAGLESHAM, General Secretary