Bulletin no 402/06 16 October 2006
Distribution One Per Member
1. COUNCIL 7 OCTOBER 2006
a) The following motions were approved by Council.
• This Association deplores the apparent reluctance of the Scottish Executive to fully fund the recent reduction in class contact time. This is having increasingly detrimental effects on learning and teaching and staff welfare and is likely to lead to enforced part-time education in some secondary schools before the end of the current session.The Association calls on the Scottish Executive to investigate and remedy this problem urgently.
• This Association welcomes the cultural diversity and opportunity which has arisen from the expansion of the European Union but is concerned that in parts of Scotland the recent demographic changes are causing secondary schools to reach full roll capacity, thus making it impossible for pupils in feeder primary schools to transfer at P7 to their designated secondary school. This problem is exacerbated by the reduced capacity in many PFI-built schools.This Association calls on the Scottish Executive to investigate this matter and to ensure that all pupils in a community are enabled to attend their designated secondary school.
• This Association calls on the Scottish Qualifications Authority to adopt procedures whereby external markers of pupil materials for examinations are not informed of the school attended by candidates.
b) The nominations for the following members to the Health and Safety Panel were agreed.
Brian Bishop, Hawick High School
Lesley Campbell, Jedburgh Grammar
Sue Edwards, Meldrum Academy
Rob Evans, Grove Academy
William Izzard, Holyrood Secondary School
Anne McHugh, St Andrews and St Brides High School
Raymond Penny, Northfield Academy.
c) Council heard reports on progress in the Working Groups on Implementation of the McCrone process and on progress in the “Curriculum for Excellence”.
d) Council noted the opening of the final consultation on revisions of the Scottish Teachers' Superannuation Scheme. Members are urged to make response to the consultation at http://www.sppa.gov.uk/pension_reform/teachers.htm. Full details of the effects of the proposed changes will be circulated to schools in the coming weeks. There will also be an opportunity for meetings within schools in coming months at which the General Secretary will discuss the changes directly with members.
2. 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 Wednesday 27 December which will be processed on Thursday 28 December for payment on Friday 29 December.
3. PRE-RETIREMENT COURSE
A series of one day pre-retirement courses will take place during the first half of 2007. Details of dates and venues will be advised to members as soon as possible and will also be posted on the website.
4. CHANGE OF ADDRESS
Members who change their home address are asked to notify the Association office in writing. It is also advisable that changes of address are notified to the school, the authority, GTCS, the nearest Social Security office, the Inland Revenue and the Scottish Public Pensions Agency. In all cases, please quote any reference number (GTCS, National Insurance etc.) The Social Security Office will make arrangements for NI records to be amended.
5. RETIRED MEMBERS
Members who are about to retire are asked to note that they 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, their 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 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.
6. LAWLINE SERVICE
Members are reminded of the Association's free legal advisory service Lawline. Morton Fraser Solicitors provides SSTA members with a free confidential legal advice by telephone or email. The service permits any member to seek legal advice on any issue affecting them or on which they wish details (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.
7. SURVEY ON TEACHER PROFESSIONALISM
Members may be contacted by researchers from the Applied Educational Research Scheme (AERS) with regard to a survey on teacher professionalism and professional development. This research is funded by SEED and members are encouraged to participate if requested. The Association is supportive of the research and awaits its finding with interest. Information on AERS can be found at their website http://www.aers.ac.uk.
8. CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR CLOSURE OF THE SSTA OFFICE
Members are asked to note that the Association office will close at noon on Friday 22nd December and will re-open for normal business after New Year on Monday 8th January 2007.
ALBERT McKAY, President
DAVID EAGLESHAM, General Secretary