Bulletin no 418/10 - 28 May 2010

1. REDUCING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

Many of you will have received a copy of the Association CfE survey by email.

The Association hopes to use this method of communication as often as possible

for 2 reasons

To reduce our carbon footprint To reduce our postal costs and to assist in maintaining

our annual subscription at the lowest possible rate.

If you are willing to participate in this method of communication, please email

the office at info@ssta.org.uk, add "carbon footprint" to the subject box and

add your name and preferred email address in the text box.

 

2. CONGRESS 2010

Congress was held in Peebles on 7/8 May. Major items included:-

Lindsay Paterson, Professor of Education Policy, University of Edinburgh addressed

Congress on Curriculum for Excellence and answered questions from members of Congress.

The Association thanks Lindsay for his address which was thought-provoking and

particularly well received.

The Association's representatives were joined by guests from other unions, the

political parties and the local authority (Scottish Borders Council) who generously

provided a civic reception.

The following motions were approved by Congress:-

Motion A

This Association is concerned that the way Curriculum for Excellence is being

interpreted in some quarters is in danger of turning it into Curriculum for Mediocrity.

We are alarmed by plans to extend some teaching methods beyond their range of

effectiveness with opportunities to advance becoming retrograde steps.

If pupils are to make real progress, the first three years of secondary school

should not be seen as a further three years of primary school.

Motion B

The SSTA calls on the GTCS and the Scottish Government to protect the status of

subject specialist teachers. This is vital to alleviate the potential damage resulting

from blurring of curricular areas in CfE and from the creation of faculty structures.

Motion C

Congress calls upon the Scottish Parliament to legislate to ensure that the appointment

of the Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland is subject

to confirmation at four yearly intervals by teachers whose subscriptions fund

the Council.

Motion D

This Association reaffirms its view that pupils in secondary schools are best

served when taught by teachers who are professionally qualified subject specialists.

The SSTA will support any members who feel pressured into acting in a way which

they feel is unprofessional in this respect.

Motion E

Congress notes with alarm the cut-backs in local authority funding and the resulting

impact upon schools, students and staff. The Association calls upon the UK and

Scottish Government and Local Authorities to ensure that schools are adequately

resourced.

Motion F

Congress notes with concern that recent research indicates a possible correlation

between young people's exposure to sexualised imagery in society and their body

image perception and attitudes towards women. Congress calls for schools to consider

ways in which they can use and promote appropriate and healthy images of both

men and women.

Motion G

This Association calls on the Scottish Qualification Authority to ensure that

any person marking or moderating internal SQA course material has received appropriate

training before they are given this responsibility.

Motion H

This Association demands that the Scottish Qualification Authority pays appropriate

fees to markers involved in internal marking related to SQA course awards. The

Association would welcome the opportunity to be involved in the negotiations with

the SQA relating to such fees.

Motion I

Congress fully endorses the articles of The United Nations Convention on the Rights

of the Child and calls upon teachers to support its implementation in schools.

Congress reiterates its commitment to ensuring that all who learn in, work in

and visit our schools can do so in a safe and healthy environment.

Motion J

This Association continues to note with regret the very significant amount of

low level indiscipline in Scottish secondary schools. The Association welcomes

recent moves to tackle more serious indiscipline but the government must be made

aware of the extent of the problem caused by this low level indiscipline.

It is noted that many hours of valuable teaching time are spent in addressing

this issue. The Association asks that the government and Local Authorities recognise

the challenges posed to learning and teaching in many schools by providing additional

resources.

Motion K

This Association calls upon the Scottish Government to honour the commitment to

restrict S1/S2 English and Maths classes to a maximum of twenty.

Motion M

East Lothian Council is considering transferring all its schools to Community

Trust status which they hope will give them the benefits of charitable status.

This Association will oppose any proposal by local authorities to transfer their

schools to trust status. We urge the Scottish Government to defeat any such move.

Motion O

This Association will consider all courses of action possible, including industrial

action in the event of threats of compulsory teacher redundancies by Local Authorities

Motion P

This Association calls on all Local Authorities in Scotland to provide adequate

training on personal safety for all teachers in view of the continued increase

in violence in schools

Motion R

The SSTA values moves made by local authorities to encourage collegiality in schools

across Scotland. To develop collegiate working further, and in line with the practice

of including parents in appointment procedures, Congress calls on local authorities

to involve staff representatives (approved by teaching unions) in the appointment

of Senior Managers in schools.

Congress also approved three emergency motions:-

Emergency Motion 1

Congress condemns attempts by the Government to impose on the GTCS a duty to "re-accredit"

teachers. Congress rejects any assertion that the GTCS currently "accredits".

It does not. It "registers". Congress sees attempts to "re-accredit" as no more

than a threat to teachers and condemns the GTCS for its failure to immediately,

decisively and vigorously reject the Government's proposals.

Congress notes that the GTCS rightly has the authority to remove a teacher from

the Register under its current disciplinary and competence arrangements.

Emergency Motion 2

The Association reaffirms the position taken at Congress 2009, (in particular

with reference to Emergency Motion 1 and Motion H) to institute a ballot on Industrial

Action if sufficient progress on Curriculum for Excellence was not made.

Congress therefore authorises Executive to initiate a ballot on Industrial Action,

if in the view of Executive, satisfactory progress has not been made by June 1st

2010 towards meeting our demands for:

The provision of a list of the core skills to be taught for every subject area.

The establishment of working groups, comprising experienced classroom teachers,

developing core material for each subject.

Clear and unequivocal information on curriculum structures and exact information

on the stage at which work for national qualifications will start.

Emergency Motion 3

This Association compliments those local authorities who have agreed on a collegiate

basis to support staff stranded abroad in unique and exceptional circumstances

of flight disruption because of volcanic eruptions.

FINANCIAL STATEMENT

INCOME  
 Membership Subscriptions £1,044,844
 Other income

£ 48,447
   £1,093,291

   
EXPENDITURE 
 *Annual Operating Costs £1,143,923

 Appropriations 
 SURPLUS/(DEFICIT)( £50,632)
   £1,093,291

   
  *including: In respect of Acting General Secretary/General Secretary:

 
  Salary

£30,000/ £42,000

  Superannuation and NIC

£5,978.09/ £6392.68

  Employee's Superannuation contributions £6,867.80/ £2520.00

  Key Person's life policy premium

£ 1,529.49

  Essential user's car allowance

£822

   
  Honoraria to elected Office Bearers:

 
  General Treasurer

£ 7,750

  Minutes Secretary £ 5,600

  President £ 2,250

   £15,600

   
  The Association does not maintain a political fund.

 

4. AUDITORS' REPORT

We have audited the financial statements of Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association

for the year ended 31 December 2009 which comprise the Cash Flow Statement, Income

and Expenditure Account, the Balance Sheet and the related notes. These financial

statements have been prepared in accordance with the accounting policies set out

therein.

This report is made exclusively to the members, as a body, and to the Association's

Finance Committee, as a body. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might

state to the members and the Association's Finance Committee those matters we

are required to state to them in an auditors' report and for no other purpose.

To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility

to anyone other than the Association, its members as a body and its Finance Committee

as a body, for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed.

RESPECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE AND AUDITORS

The responsibilities of the Finance Committee for preparing the Finance Committee's

Annual Report and the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and

United Kingdom Accounting Standards (United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting

Practice) and for being satisfied that the financial statements give a true and

fair view are set out in the Statement of Finance Committee's Responsibilities.

Our responsibility is to audit the financial statements in accordance with relevant

legal and regulatory requirements and International Standards on Auditing (UK

and Ireland).

We report to you our opinion as to whether the financial statements give a true

and fair view, have been properly prepared in accordance with United Kingdom Generally

Accepted Accounting Practice. We also report to you if, in our opinion, the information

given in the Finance Committee's Annual Report is consistent with the financial

statement

We also report to you if, in our opinion, the Association has not kept adequate

and proper accounting records, if the Association's financial statements are not

in agreement with these accounting records, if we have not received all the information

and explanations we require for our audit, or if certain disclosures of Finance

Committee's remuneration specified by law are not made. We read the Finance Committee's

Annual Report and consider the implications for our report if we become aware

of any apparent misstatements within it.

BASIS OF AUDIT OPINION

We conducted our audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing

(UK and Ireland) Issued by the Auditing Practices Board. An audit includes examination,

on a test basis, of evidence relevant to the amounts and disclosures in the financial

statements. It also includes an assessment of the significant estimates and judgments

made by the Finance Committee in the preparation of the financial statement 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 financial statements 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 financial statements

OPINION

In our opinion:

  • the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of the Association's

    affairs as at 31 December 2009;

  • and of its incoming resources and application of resources, including its

    income and expenditure, for the year then ended;

  • the financial statements have been properly prepared in accordance with

    United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice; ·the financial statements

    have been prepared in accordance with the Trade Union and Labour Relations

    (Consolidation) Act 1992; and

  • the information given in the Finance Committee's Annual Report is consistent

    with the financial statements.

Tindell, Grant & Co Registered Auditors 6 Munro Road Springkerse Stirling FK7

7UU

 

5. CURRICULUM FOR EXCELLENCE SURVEY

Approximately 27% of members responded to these surveys, giving detailed information

which considerably enhanced the Association's stated position on both issues.

The issues raised have already been discussed with the Cabinet Secretary and will

be used in more detailed talks later this month. Summary papers have also been

produced which will be presented as evidence to COSLA and the Scottish Government

during May and June.

Our grateful thanks go to every member who took the time to complete the survey

during a very busy term. We will keep you informed of progress on both issues.

6. RESULTS OF THE WORKLOAD SURVEY

78.2 % of teachers worked at least 40 hrs during the weeks chosen, and none

of them reported these as particularly busy weeks. Many actually reported the

chosen week as being ‘quiet'.

Over 24 % worked between 40 and 45hrs; 28%+ worked between 45 and 50 hrs and 15.9%

between 50 and 55 hrs. An extremely worrying 10.25% of members who responded report

regularly working in excess of 55 hrs per week, on a regular basis.

The most commonly reported reasons for the extra hours are administration, pupil

indiscipline, covering for absent colleagues, HMIE visits, marking NABs and folios.

A number of members used the comment section of the survey to highlight serious

issues. Please remember your professional officers are here to help you. Please

contact us immediately if: you have been the victim of violence and have not

been supported effectively by the SMT; you are considering resigning due to

difficulties with your line manager; you are asked to accept an unreasonable

workload; you are threatened or harassed by a parent or pupil; you are subjected

to accusations of misconduct or if any issue arises which causes you concern

and is not suitably dealt with by your line manager. Please telephone in an

emergency. It is helpful to contact us by email at info@ssta.org.uk and we will

respond within 24 hours

7. MEMBERSHIP

All members who retire during the summer are asked to notify the Association office

(info@ssta.org.uk) of the fact. Members who are transferring schools are asked

to do the same.

We take this opportunity to wish members who are retiring a long, healthy and

happy retirement.

Members who are retiring but who may take up irregular temporary work as a teacher

("supply" as it is generally termed) are advised to retain part-time membership

at the prevailing half rate.

It is also possible to retain membership as a retired member at the same rate.

The Association's free legal advisory service, Lawline, is free and confidential.

To make use of the service telephone 07770 748556 or email lawline@morton-fraser.com.

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.

This is particularly important due to the possibility of a ballot of members on

Industrial Action regarding the lack of sufficient progress on Curriculum for

Excellence. (See Emergency Motion 2 which was approved by Congress 2010.)

On behalf of the President and Council, we wish all members a well deserved, restful

and enjoyable summer break.

PETER WRIGHT President

ANN BALLINGER General Secretary

 

TEACHER SUPPORT SCOTLAND

Happy, healthy teachers make better teachers

Teacher Support Scotland is an independent charity who believes happy, healthy

teachers make better teachers. In a time when everyone is looking to cut their

costs, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that school staff are the

backbone of the education system and should be given the support needed to be

their best, particularly during times of change and uncertainty. We provide 24

hour coaching and counselling, have over 1000 factsheets on our website and develop

resources that help improve whole of school staff wellbeing. The best thing is

that these services are all free, so you can look after yourself and your colleagues

without spending a penny. Get in touch with our Edinburgh office to find out how

we can help you and your school or see the enclosed leaflet for more information.

Teacher Support Scotland 0131 6674058 scotland@teachersupport.info

Need someone to talk to? Call our confidential telephone Support Line free on

0800 5642270 or email an advisor via http://www.teachersupposrtscotland.info.

Teacher Support Scotland is a registered charity (no.SCO32500) and we desperately

need your help to continue our important work. Help us spread the word by ordering

leaflets for your school and consider making a donation on the back of the leaflet

enclosed.

Published on 09 June 2010 - Bulletin
SSTA

Contact Details

Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, West End House, 14 West End Place, Edinburgh EH11 2ED

0131 313 7300
info@ssta.org.uk

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