Bulletin No 416/09 14 December 2009

1. REDUCING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

In an effort to reduce our Carbon Footprint the Association intends to use email for communication when practicable. If you are willing to participate in this Carbon Footprint reduction please email the office info@ssta.org.uk with your name and email address.

2. SUBSCRIPTIONS

The Association is pleased to report that Subscriptions for 2010 will remain at the 2009 level of £163.90 for all members who pay this fee by 31 January 2010. This reduced tariff includes annual direct debit, cheque, part-time, job-share and retired members. This saving is clearly of advantage to members and is only available to those who pay before the end of January.

Members who have elected to pay their subscription by annual cheque are reminded that these should be forwarded by 31 January 2010, either through school representatives or directly to the Association offices. The full range of rates set for 2010 is as follows:

- Full members £163.90 if paid annually by 31 January 2010, or £178.80 if paid afterwards; £14.90 if paid by monthly direct debit.

- Retired, part-time, job-share, temporary or supply members: £81.95 if paid annually by 31 January 2010 or £89.40 if paid afterwards; £7.45 per month if paid by monthly direct debit.

3. 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 other jurisdictions as well as Scots law. 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.

4. COUNCIL 5 DECEMBER 2009

Council heard reports on the latest progress on the following issues:

  • CfE-concerns about format of Assessment for N4 + N5
  • SSTA concern about the reduction in Teacher Workforce in certain local authorities.
  • Annual meeting with SQA during which arrangements for national assessments were discussed.
  • Meeting with the Minister for Schools and Senior Civil Servants where CfE was discussed. It was indicated during the discussion that current 2/2/2 curricular structure would be perfectly acceptable mechanism whereby the aims of CfE could be achieved.
  • Annual meeting with HMIe which included a report on new mechanisms for recording HMIe findings. HMIe also indicated that DVDs would be sent to every teacher in a school prior to inspection. These should be available via the headteacher.

The following motions were approved:

  • The SSTA calls on the Scottish Government to evaluate the effect that the proposed local authority budget cuts will have on the implementation of A Curriculum for Excellence.
  • Council will be aware of emerging budget pressures and financial constraints facing individual local authorities as they consider their budgets for next year.

    The Association must monitor this developing situation across the country and warn of the damaging consequences of cuts to secondary school staffing formulae and of falling CPD budgets for frontline service provision.

    Educational opportunities for pupils are at risk at a time when meeting the Curriculum for Excellence implementation timetable is placing huge demands on staff and resources.

  • In line with the unanimous decision taken at Congress, the Association calls on the Scottish Government to reconsider the proposal that courses at National level 4 are certificated using only internal assessment mechanisms.

    The level 4 courses will represent the highest level of attainment for many pupils in the relevant subject. No qualification relating to such a course should be solely internally assessed. The retention of external assessment is essential and would ensure:

    • the maintenance of standards and rigour associated with the current Standard Grade General and Intermediate 1 examinations

    • the avoidance of a two tier examination system

    • parity of esteem and equality of opportunity for the maximum number of pupils

    • a reduction in the volume of new external moderation and additional marking for teachers

    The Association believes that the change to internal assessment is driven by financial rather than educational considerations.

    The Association calls for urgent talks with the Cabinet Secretary for Education to discuss this matter further.

5. MEETINGS WITH MEMBERS IN SCHOOLS

Sometimes meetings take place in school of SSTA members and someone from the Secretariat. These meetings tend to be single issue meetings affecting only a specific number of members. On these occasions only the members involved will be eligible to attend.

6. SUPERANNUATION OF VOLUNTARY SERVICE OVERSEAS

Members who leave teaching in Scotland to work overseas on voluntary service (most obviously but not limited to the VSO scheme) are now able to have the relevant period counted for the purposes of teacher superannuation. The costs will be met (following approval) from central government held fund and not by employers on the scheme itself. Further details are available from the organisation handling the overseas service.

7. ACCRUED HOLIDAY PAY FOR TEACHERS ENTERING MATERNITY LEAVE

Members who are going on maternity leave will generally benefit from section 7.18 of the Handbook of Conditions of Service. This provides that a teacher who is entitled to paid maternity leave can receive pay in lieu of accrued leave for the period up to the day before the commencement of the maternity leave. Although the term "can" is used here, in effect the better term is "must".

It has come to the Association's attention that certain employers will make the payment only on request. Members going onto maternity leave should be aware of this and, if necessary, make such a request in writing to the Director.

The amount of paid leave is determined by section 5 of the Handbook (see Association website for full details). The teacher is entitled to leave at a rate of 0.3385 of a days pay for each day worked in the current leave year (beginning 1 September). This amount is calculated and leave already taken is then deducted. The remaining balance is paid at the daily rate (1/195 of annual salary).

8. CHANGE OF ADDRESS

Members who have changes to their personal details are asked to notify the Association office in writing or email info@ssta.org.uk.

9. 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 and 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. Members omitting to inform the Association will unfortunately only be entitled to a refund for the current financial year.

10. PRE-RETIREMENT COURSE 2010

Members are reminded that these are arranged as follows:

Stirling-24 April 2010

Glasgow-29 May 2010

Members should apply as soon as possible. Closing date for applications is 31 January 2010.

11. CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR CLOSURE OF THE SSTA OFFICE

Members are asked to note that the Association office will close at 3pm on Tuesday 22 December and will re-open for normal business after New Year on Wednesday 6 January 2010 at 9am. An emergency service will be in operation during the office closure.

12. 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 Tuesday 29 December which will be processed on Wednesday 30 December for payment on Thursday 31 December.

The President and Council of the Association wish all members a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and restful New Year

PETER WRIGHT President

ANN BALLINGER General Secretary

 

Published on 11 January 2010 - Bulletin
SSTA

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