SSTA Members Bulletin – 11 June 2021

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School Teacher Pay 2021
The SNCT Extended Joint Chairs met on Monday 7 June but COSLA were not prepared to make an improved offer.  COSLA said the reason for the lack of progress was that it is awaiting discussion on local government funding with Cabinet Secretary Kate Forbes and Shona Robison. The further discussions on finance between COSLA and Scottish Government are deemed necessary before there can be any reconsideration of the terms of the pay offer. 

The Teachers’ Side noted COSLA’s position and made clear that the ongoing delay was very disappointing.  COSLA was also urged to exhibit more urgency in improving its offer and reaching a pay settlement.  The point was made forcibly that allowing this situation to drag on would not be conducive to educational recovery in session 2021-2022.

No date was set for the next meeting of the Extended Joint Chairs as this will be dependent upon the outcomes of the meetings between COSLA and the Cabinet Secretaries for Finance and Local Government.
Professional Update
The SSTA welcomes the GTCS announcement that the deadline for Professional Update has been extended to 31 October due to the current pressures in secondary schools.  The SSTA would expect, therefore, that both PRD and Professional Update meetings do not take priority over the important focus on learning and teaching, as well as the gathering of evidence and assessment necessary before the end of this session.
Lead Teacher
The new post of Lead Teacher will be introduced into the SNCT Handbook from August 2021. The SNCT Lead Teacher report

The new role – which will command a salary of more than £47,000 a year – is to provide a promotion route for teachers who want to further their careers but who do not want to move into school management.

The Lead Teacher Role is described as: “school-based Lead Teachers will remain classroom teachers and should not be regarded as part of the school’s management structure. Their role therefore will include the duties of a teacher as set out in the SNCT Handbook. Lead Teachers would function alongside and complement the existing leadership roles, structures and posts, bringing clear additionality to the system through supporting the professional learning of colleagues in their context and beyond”.
National Qualifications 2021
The Alternative Certification Model (ACM) and the submission of grades is drawing to a close and there is an increasing concern that the process may lead to a rise in appeals. The ACM is restricted to demonstrated attainment only.

This is different to 2020, when teachers were able to use a mix of demonstrated and inferred attainment. Last year teachers had some flexibility to take into account the disruption caused by Covid. This year the SQA has made it clear that inferred attainment cannot be used. In the recent SSTA survey only 36% of members believed the evidence that they collected truly demonstrated their pupil’s attainment.

As a consequence, SSTA believes that there will be an increase in appeals and further scrutiny of how the schools submitted grades to the SQA. Therefore, SSTA encourages members to retain all records of their assessment.
This should include:

  • Your expected pupil attainment level (taking into account Covid-19)
  • Your initial attainment level before moderation/verification, and
  • The final grade submitted to the SQA by the school

Appeals Process (National Qualification 2021)
The SQA Appeals Process has been published and is to be managed by the SQA.

Students have been told they have to register for appeals between Friday 25 June and Thursday 12 August. If they miss the 12 August deadline, they have been told teachers and lecturers can appeal on their behalf until Monday 16 August.
However, as mentioned above, because students are also told they should have another discussion about their options with their teacher or lecturer after results day on Tuesday 10 August, questions are being asked about how this will be possible when many schools are still off for the summer break.
SSTA advises its members not to pre-empt any appeals but to await the formal notification from the SQA in August.
The SQA ‘out of touch’
The SSTA understands that the SQA are conducting post submission checks to take place between 25 June and 7 July. Schools are being advised that SQA will contact them and they must respond by 5 July. This is totally unrealistic as the vast majority of schools will be closed for the summer and teachers will be unavailable.
In addition, priority appeals are now scheduled to be submitted no later than 16 August when a number of schools are due to return. This would not allow schools sufficient time to identify the appeals, gather the evidence and have it packaged without teachers working through their holidays.
The SQA appears to have little understanding or respect for schools or staff if it expects teachers to work through the summer vacation.
SSTA recommends that all teachers take a well-earned break and step away from all work until they return to school in August. The last thing teachers need is another vacation period ruined.

Teachers Deserve A Break – Make Sure You Take It

SNCT Pay Negotiations 2021 - SSTA Rejects Pay Offer

The SNCT Teachers’ Side Negotiators (SSTA and EIS) met with COSLA (the employers) and Government Officials on Wednesday 17 March to respond to the Employers 2021 Pay Offer.
The SNCT Teachers’ Side submitted a pay claim for 2021 for a pay increase in the financial range of 3% - 5% in December 2021 . COSLA responded by making an offer in line with Government’s pay policy.
The offer from COSLA is:

  • A 2% uplift for those earning up £40,000 (all main grade teachers up to Point 4); and
  • A 1% rise for those earning over £40,000 with a cap of £800 (all teacher grades from Point 5 and above). (please add the COSLA Pay Offer)

The SNCT teachers’ side were clear that the offer was unacceptable as not only would it leave some members with below inflation pay increases but moreover the differentiated nature of the offer was contrary to the need for a universal percentage for all teachers and associated professionals at all grades.
Further negotiations are planned and the next meeting will be on 31 March.

General Secretary Report - October 2019

Teachers Pay Deal 2018-2020 included

  • Job Sizing Review (to include ASN, Guidance and PEF appointments)
  • 2 Additional in-service days - aimed at reducing unnecessary workload and addressing challenges in supporting pupils with additional support needs.
  • SSTA guidance issued to members. SNCT to monitor and identify good practice

SNCT Career Pathways Report– SNCT 26 September 2019

     3 SNCT working groups established

  • Career pathway established for specialist roles in curricular, pedagogical and policy delivery through the creation of a new post of Lead Teacher.
  • Career pathways for Headteachers within and beyond Headship should be recognised including new opportunities in system leadership.
  • A national model for sabbaticals should be developed for all teachers, including Headteachers that is both attractive and sustainable.
  • Full report available at

SSTA Survey on S4 Classes 

     SSTA members survey 1247 replies in June 2019

  • Subjects with most single qualification classes (French 50%, Maths 43%, Chemistry and English 34%)
  • Subjects with two or three qualifications (Business Management and Modern Studies 87%, Graphics and Geography 83%, Administration IT and History 82%).

SSTA meeting with Deputy First Minister – 28 August 2019

     Issues discussed

  • Raising Attainment – SSTA S4 Survey initial results
  • Multi-Course teaching and subject distribution
  • Qualification Process, value of Assignment, Units and Length of Papers
  • Teacher Workload – sought up-date of the Government reports
  • Curriculum for Excellence Working Group on Tackling Bureaucracy – 2013
  • Curriculum for Excellence Working Group on Tackling Bureaucracy Follow-up Report - 2015
  • Empowering Schools: education reform – concerns raised
  • Headteachers’ Charter – the need for a school committee of union representatives to discuss school policy in addition to condition of service matters
  • Enhancing the Teaching Profession – acknowledged the Teachers’ pay deal and the Career Pathways report but highlighted the lack of the ‘Teacher Voice’ in the empowering schools agenda

SSTA – Getting It Right for Every Secondary Teacher

Review of Senior Phase – 16 September 2019

  • Education and Skills Committee following an inquiry on the number of subjects available to pupils in secondary school and in particular concerns regarding reduction in subject choice at S4 called for a review

  • DFM announces Independent review to consider implementation of Curriculum for Excellence between S4 and S6.

Named Person – 19 September 2019

  • Information sharing proposals dropped and named person provisions repealed.
  • The proposed new law on information sharing on named persons will not proceed.
  • Existing voluntary schemes that provide a point of contact for support will continue under current legal powers, where councils and health boards wish to provide them and parents want to use them.

Empowering Schools: education reform progress update – published 25 June

SQA - Removal of Recognising Positive Achievement

  • The interim measure of ’Recognising Positive Achievement’ – the automatic ‘fallback’ to National 4 – came to an end of the 2018-2019 session.
  • From session 2019-20, candidates who are unsuccessful in their National 5 course assessment but who have passed a combination of SCQF level 5 freestanding units, and the National 4 added value unit, will no longer achieve National 4
  • Follow link to SQA document 

Strategic Board for Teacher Education (SBTE) - 11 September 2019

   Alternative Routes into Teaching

  • 778 participants over two years – retention rate of 84% (traditional routes 80%)
  • 346 have completed their programmes and 304 are continuing.
  • attracting a more diverse group of individuals to access the teaching profession, particularly career changers;

   Enhanced Leadership Support Package for Teachers

  • Excellence in Headship Programme (EiH) two or more years in post
  • EiH residential events in 2019, 27% of all headteachers will have completed EiH Induction; 35% of all secondary and 26% of all primary headteachers.
  • Engagement of headteachers ranges between 20-32% across Regional Improvement Collaboratives

   Masters Guidance

  • Review the Masters Framework – variable, confusion, opportunity to strengthen professional learning and a link with Career Pathways.
  • Life-span of credits and transferring of credits to be considered further

STUC GENERAL COUNCIL - 4 September     


  • One in five people in Scotland are in relative poverty. The figure is higher for lone mothers, black and ethnic minorities and disabled people.
  • Poverty and inequality are at historically high levels and are far higher than they were in the 1970s. Despite progress in reducing poverty in the 1990s and 2000s, poverty has been increasing since 2010.
  • 24% of children in Scotland are in poverty. Related to this, lone mothers are almost twice as likely (39%) to be in poverty than the population at large.

   STUC MEETING WITH COSLA - 27 August 2019

  • Spending Review 2020/21 - Agreement to continue to share information during the ongoing budget process and to make the case for increased revenue for Local Government.
  • Brexit - Resilience and planning around a no-deal Brexit and highlighted the positive role that union representatives at a local level can play in developing and implementing resilience plans.
  • Fairwork - STUC encouraged COSLA to do more to promote Fair Work and positive relationships with unions to its members in general terms. Further discussion on the role of COSLA in promoting Fair Work would be taken forward.
  • Change of the May Day bank holiday to the 8th May to commemorate VE day.

STUC change had been made in many LAs without consultation with unions. COSLA agreed to remind COSLA members of their duty to consult with unions. 


Agenda to include:

  • Economy, Brexit, Fair Work, Public Ownership, Poverty and Inequality


  • Development Fund and Learning Fund 2019/21

Applications to the Learning Fund for a total of 249 courses have been received since 1 April 2019. 

  • Fair Work: Leadership and Equality Programme

Fifteen applications were received for funding through the Fair Work: Leadership and Equality Programme in 2019/20.

Forthcoming Events

STUC Black Workers’ Conference, Clydebank, Glasgow 5-6 October 2019

STUC Women’s Congress, Perth 28-29 October 2019

STUC Congress, Perth, 20-22 April 2020

SSTA Congress, Crieff,15-16 May 2020

SSTA Members Briefings

  • Tuesday 22 October – Dundee, Hampton Hilton Hotel
  • Wednesday 23 October – Edinburgh, SSTA Head Office

SSTA Professional Learning (SUL) – Dates to be confirmed

  • Understanding Mental Health

– Glasgow and Edinburgh (Nov 19)

  • Understanding Dementia

– Dundee (Nov 19) and Glasgow (Feb 20)

  • Understanding Autism

– Aberdeen and Dundee (Feb 20)

2018 Pay Claim - What Next?

I would like to thank all members for their efforts in making a tremendous 76% return in the consultative ballot. The 64% vote to accept has indicated the direction for the Association. It was clear from the comments made by members in the ballot that there was a reluctance to accept and that morale in schools is very low. The issues of teacher workload, pupil behaviour and lack of support were highlighted throughout the ballot process. The SSTA will be ensuring as part of any pay agreement that these issues must be addressed. A failure to make a real difference in these areas will only see more teachers leaving the profession.

The next steps in the pay negotiation process are:

  1. The SNCT Teachers’ Side will meet on Monday 25 February to agree a formal response to the pay offer. The union positions are:
  • SSTA - conducted a members ballot and has voted to accept
  • EIS - conducted a members ballot and has voted to reject
  • Voice – Did not consult members but are prepared to accept
  • AHDS (primary heads) – conducted a members ballot and has voted to accept
  • NASUWT - no indication of what actions they have taken on the pay offer
  • SLS (secondary heads) – is not allowed to consult its members as it is not a union (is only an observer at the meeting)
  1. The likely outcome is that SNCT Teachers’ Side will formally reject the pay offer (the EIS hold the majority when it comes to the vote). This will become the SNCT Teachers’ Side position. As a member of the SNCT Teachers’ Side the SSTA will accept the outcome of the vote and be seeking further negotiation in an attempt to resolve the dispute. This will include seeking action on teacher workload and pupil behaviour.
  2. The SNCT Teachers’ Side rejection will be taken to the SNCT Extended Joint Chairs (SSTA, EIS, Government and COSLA) on Tuesday 26 February. This would be the opportunity for the Government (should they chose to take it) to try and negotiate a settlement. It is fair to say the Government is keen to resolve the dispute and avoid industrial action.
  3. The SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee are awaiting developments and will be preparing guidance for members.
  4. The SSTA National Executive (Friday 1 March) and Council (Saturday 2 March) will be meeting next week to consider the situation and any further action.

It will be our intention to keep members updated on developments.

Thanks again for all your efforts in taking part in the members surveys and ballots during this difficult time.

Seamus Searson
General Secretary


The SSTA conducted a Consultative Ballot of its members on the latest pay offer from COSLA. The ballot closed at noon today with 76% of SSTA members making a response. The latest pay offer was a 3% increase from April 2018 with a further 3% from January 2019. This would be followed by a 3% increase in April 2019 and April 2020.

64% of SSTA members voted to accept the latest teacher pay offer with more than a third of members prepared to take strike action to seek an improved offer.

Seamus Searson SSTA General Secretary said “The Government must not see this decision as a boost to teacher morale as many members were voting to get a pay rise that has been long overdue. Members are equally unhappy with a 3 year deal and are insisting on a reopener clause for 2020 so that teachers’ salaries are not allowed to deteriorate. Members are demanding urgent efforts to address teacher workload and support in dealing with pupil behaviour”.

“The SSTA welcomes the measures to improve salaries for those entering the profession but has real a concern that this offer is going to do little to encourage teachers to remain in the profession. The Government must accept there is much more to be done in the battle of teacher retention. The large number of teachers who were prepared to take strike action to improve teachers’ pay shows the level of frustration and must not be ignored”.

Kevin Campbell, SSTA President said “I would like to thank all members for taking part in the ballot. A 76% return is a tremendous achievement. Looking at the responses from members it is clear there is a great reluctance amongst members to accept the offer but many teachers are desperate for a pay rise. Despite this pay offer there is still a great deal of teacher unhappiness in our schools. We need to move quickly in tackling teacher workload and reinvesting in measures to tackle the increasing problem of pupil behaviour”.

Members were invited to make comment on the offer and a small sample has been included below.

“On paper the offer looks good but our working conditions/expectations have caused many to become very stressed and workloads have increased massively without any significant monetary reward for many years, and the hours which many of us are putting in every week is horrific”.

“Whatever the outcome of the ballot it is imperative that negotiations continue regarding workload and teacher retention. There is a lot of focus on attracting teachers to the profession, but for me the bigger issue is in retaining the excellent practitioners who already do a fantastic job”.

“I’m reluctant to accept but I don’t see how we will get anything better at this point”.

“It's ridiculous that we have had to fight for this for so long. It's not a great deal but I think it's the best we will get without losing public support”.

“This is not about the salary. What I actually want this all to be focused on is pupil behaviour and conditions in teaching. I am in my 10th year of teaching, and behaviour in schools has degraded so much in the last few years that we are no longer a teaching profession, but instead becoming a babysitting service for pupils”.

“I don't believe the offer addresses the recruitment and retention crisis, I have no confidence in management's intent to deal with workload issues”,

“I believe that this offer is well below what is acceptable. The headline of 9% is for 2 years not one and is misleading”.

“I genuinely feel extremely torn by the offer. I am very worried about the impact of Brexit & accepting the pay deal for a year when we have no clue what state of play the economy will be in if & when Brexit goes through! In addition to this I am still extremely concerned about the workload issues that teachers face & the fact that there has been very little done to address this”.

“The (new) three Rs': Retention; Recruitment; Respect”



Revised Pay offer - Consultative Ballot

SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee - 28 January 2019

The SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee met on 28 January to consider developments in the 2018 Pay Negotiations. The SNCT Extended Joint Chairs (SSTA, EIS, COSLA and Government) met on Monday 28 January and COSLA (the employers) tabled an offer in line with the Deputy First Minister letter of 10 January 2019.

The Pay Offer is in two parts:

Part One

  • 2018/19 – 3% pay increase for all SNCT grades will apply, up to a cap of £80,000. At or above this figure a flat rate increase of £1,600 will apply. This award will be back dated to 1 April 2018.
  • 2019/20 – 3% increase will apply uniformly across all SNCT posts governed by the terms and conditions of the SNCT (no cap).
  • 2020/21 – 3% pay increase will apply across all SNCT posts governed by the terms and conditions of the SNCT (no cap).

Part Two

  • restructure the Teachers Main Grade Scale to remove scale point one and add 3% to each of the remaining scale points from 1 January 2019. These changes will also mean a higher starting salary and faster progression for those coming into the profession.
  • to revalue the salary scales for promoted posts and associated professionals will add 3% from 1 January 2019 to all relevant pay points.

The COSLA pay offer letter and associated pay scales are included for your information.

Additional Information for Members

  • union side is insisting upon a re-opener clause as a requirement in any multi-year deal due to uncertainties (such as Brexit and increases in the retail price index).
  • the pay offer does not include any changes to conditions of service
  • the union side is insisting, as a part of any deal, a major commitment from Government and COSLA to address excessive teacher workload and the challenges in supporting pupils with additional support needs.

Consultative Ballot

The Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee was committed to a Consultative Ballot of members should a new offer be forthcoming. As the new offer has now been submitted the Consultative Ballot will commence on Thursday 31 January and will close at noon on Thursday 21 February. Please note only members employed by local authorities will be invited to participate in the consultative ballot.

In the event of a rejection of the pay offer the Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee will move to a formal Ballot for Strike Action should the thresholds of the UK Government’s Trade Union Act be met.

2018 Pay Update - 28 January 2019

The SNCT Extended Joint Chairs met earlier today (Monday 28 January) where COSLA submitted a revised pay offer to the Teachers' Side.  The SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee will meet this afternoon to consider the offer.

An email will be sent to members on Tuesday 29 January with details of the offer and the next steps to be taken.

SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee – 14 January 2019

The SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee met on 14 January to consider developments in the 2018 Pay Negotiations.

1) COSLA Offer – 7 January 

The Committee firmly rejected the COSLA offer (3% in April 2018 plus a further 2% in August). This offer also included a 3% increase in April 2019 and a 3% increase in April 2020. The Committee appreciated that this offer removed the divisive intent in previous offers but did not meet the aspirations of members. Should this be the only offer on the table from COSLA the Committee recommended that SSTA move to a statutory ballot for industrial action.

2) Deputy First Minister’s Letter – 10 January

The Committee then considered the Deputy First Minister’s (DFM) letter. This letter sets out the willingness of Scottish Government to improve the 7 January offer by restructuring the 2% originally being offered in August 2018 to a new figure of 3%, payable in January 2019.  (Draft Salary Scales based on the DFM's letter can be downloaded here)

At the moment the DFM’s letter is not an offer. Only COSLA, as our employers, can legally make an offer and COSLA has said it cannot consider making an offer until its Leaders meeting planned for 25 January. The Committee is concerned that COSLA has been a major stumbling block throughout the negotiations if it were keen to resolve this dispute they should be able to table a new offer quickly.

The Committee agreed should a new offer be forthcoming SSTA would conduct a Consultative Ballot of members.

3) The View of Members – Opinion Survey

In preparation for the next stage of the SSTA Campaign the Committee has agreed to conduct an opinion survey of members on the proposal contained within the Deputy First Minister’s letter.

This opinion survey is to be conducted through SSTA School Representatives. The Committee is recommending that school representatives hold a meeting of members in schools to discuss the proposal and report the views of members back to SSTA Head Office.  The opinion survey will be sent to the school representatives on Wednesday 16 January.

School Representatives will receive an e-mail invitation for the survey on Wednesday morning. If you do not receive this invitation please contact the SSTA Office.

Should your school not have a School Representative members should elect a rep and inform the SSTA Office. Information on the duties of a School Representative can be found here


Members Details

We are reaching the final stage of negotiation and we need to be ready to conduct a formal ballot of members. It is essential that we have accurate postal addresses and preferred email addresses to ensure members views are recorded. Members can notify us of any changes to their details by completing a form at

2018 Pay Update - 14 January 2019

2018 PAY UPDATE - 14 January 2019

COSLA Offer - 7 January
COSLA (the employers) tabled an offer on 7 January. No further improvements were presented.  For those on the main-grade scale the offer essentially remains the same as the one previously rejected in the consultative ballot (3% plus a further 2% in August), with the addition of 3% for Year 2 (2019/20) and 3% for Year 3(2020/21).

SNCT Teachers’ Side -  8 January
The SNCT Teachers’ Side (SSTA, EIS, NASUWT, Voice, ADHS and SLS)  met on 8 January and rejected the COSLA offer and also recorded a “failure to agree”.  In an attempt to agree a settlement, the Teachers’ Side confirmed its willingness to meet again, as and when required should any improved offer from COSLA / Scottish Government be forthcoming.

Deputy First Minister’s Letter – 10 January
The DFM issued a letter late on 10 January. The DFM sets out the willingness of Scottish Government to improve the 7th January  offer by restructuring the 2% originally being offered in August 2018 to a new figure of 3%, payable in January, 2019.

The net impact of this change is that over a 2-year period the offer would be worth a 9.25% increase compared to March 2018 [3% April 2018 (backdated) + 3% January 2019 + 3% April 2019]. For Headteachers on more than £80,000 it would be worth slightly less as the April 2018 offer is capped at a flat rate of £1,600; and for probationers and those on main grade Point 1 it is worth more as the proposal would still be to shorten the main grade from 6 points to 5. A further proposed 3% in April 2020 would take the compounded increase to 12.5%, compared to March 2018, i.e. current scales.

However, at the moment the DFM’s letter is not an offer. Only COSLA, as our employers, can legally make an offer. COSLA has said it cannot consider making an offer until its Leaders meeting planned for 25 January. It cannot be taken as a formality as COSLA has had difficulties internally in making any improved offer to teachers’ pay throughout the negotiation process.

SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee – 14 January
The SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee will consider developments at its meeting today. In the absence of an improved offer from COSLA it will need to plan the next phase of the campaign including moving to a statutory ballot for strike action.

The View of Members
We are reaching the final stage of negotiation and we need to be ready to conduct a formal ballot of members. It is essential that we have accurate postal addresses and preferred email addresses to ensure members views are recorded. Members can notify us of any changes to their details by completing a form at

Further updates will be issued.

Career Pathways – BME Teachers

The Independent Panel on Career Pathways has been set up to gather evidence in relation to possible new career pathways for the teaching profession to address the issues related to recruitment and retention, and to provide recommendations to the SNCT. As an element of its evidence-gathering work, the Panel has organised a consultation event exclusively for BME teachers.

The details of the event are:

Date:       Thursday 17th January 2019
Time:       1630-1800
Venue:    Meeting Room 108
                 Jurys Inn Glasgow
                 80 Jamaica Street
                 G1 4QG

Refreshments will be available on arrival.