General Secretary Report - March 2018

Teachers Pay - April 2018

  • Scottish Government Budget has made provision for a 3% increase for public service workers earning less than £36,500 and 2% for those above

SSTA Position

  • First priority Retention and Second priority Recruitment and third priority the Restoration of teachers’ pay
  • a common % increase for all teachers at all grades
  • Parity for unpromoted teachers with FE lecturers of £40,000+
  • A major reduction in teacher workload

The SNCT 2018 Pay Claim was submitted on the 8 February SNCT Pay Claim


Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RICs) for Education (September 2017)

  • Six collaborative regions
  • Regional Improvement Plan following consultation (January 2018)
  • Enhance and improve professional learning
  • Identify, promote and share good practice – develop networks of teachers
  • Subject-specific and sector-specific support and advice
  • The RIC will not replace the LNCT?
  • Regional Adviser from Education Scotland (Alistair Brown)
  • Second Development Plan – September 2018 to allow for wider consultation
  • Collaboration opportunities referred to as ‘Learning Partnerships’


Strategic Board for Teacher Education (SBTE) 21 February 2018

     Career Pathways –issues discussed

  • Possible conflict with SNCT and SBTE
  • Models for career pathways to be considered
  • Curriculum specialists, Additional Support Needs, Leadership Pathways
  • Transition from Primary to Secondary
  • Attract and retain teachers - teacher needs and employer needs

     1+2 Language Implementation Group

  • development of languages by improving language learning for all children by 2021
  • an additional language from P1,a second language by P5 and continue until S3
  • Training intended for all primary teachers and then into secondary sector
  • Language training in primary ITE programmes with a minimum level of competence
  • Secondary sector – dealing with primary pupils who have had P1 to P7 experience
  • Age profile of secondary MFL and improved workforce planning
  • RIC have been tasked to support the 1+2 Language Policy


Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) – Aviemore 16 -18 April 2018

SSTA Motions


Additional Support Needs (Amended by Unison)

“That this Congress notes that data, collected by the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association about the numbers of teachers and pupil support assistants working specifically and exclusively within the field of Additional Support Needs in secondary schools, not only reveals a reduction in staff, but is also contradictory and confusing.


“Congress also notes that UNISON’s survey on school support staff showed the immense pressures on those working with children with Additional Support Needs, due to budget cuts and insufficient resources and training.  The Scottish Government has a duty to provide funds to ensure the children’s needs are met”.


“Congress requests that the Scottish Government implements the recommendations of the Education & Skills Committee SP Paper 140 published in May 2017 ‘How is Additional Support for Learning Working in Practice?’, which identifies the need for appropriate funding and resources to fully meet legislative requirements of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.


“Additionally, Congress calls on the Scottish Government and employers to provide all education professionals including teachers with appropriate training, to ensure that they meet the needs of pupils with Additional Support Needs.”


Education Workforce Council

“Congress recognises the importance of regulatory bodies for maintaining high standards in a number of professions it is alarmed by the Governments intention within the forthcoming Education Bill to dissolve the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) and Community Learning and Development Standards Council for Scotland (CLDSCS) and create an Education Workforce Council (EWC)”.


“The GTCS is an independent, democratic and teacher led organisation that is almost fully funded by teachers’ subscriptions and maintains a register of highly qualified workers. The Government intends that the EWC is created for all education workers (including those not registered with GTCS and CLDSCS) and appoint council members that will undermine the continuation of highly qualified teachers and other professionals”.

“Congress calls on the Scottish Government to set aside its proposals within the Education Bill and engage with education unions on appropriate mechanisms for regulation for education workers”.    

STUC General Council – 7 March 2018


  • Preliminary Agenda 111 motions submitted amendments being
  • Speakers First Minister and Leader of the Scottish Labour Party with a roundtable session for international guests

2018 STUC Accounts and Membership

  • 2017 Accounts show a net surplus £29,051 (deficit of £27,385 for 2016)
  • Confirmed membership of 545,723 in 2018 (reduction of 15,594 from 2017)

    The Labour Market - figures cover the Oct 2017 – Dec 2017 period.

·        Unemployment (all aged 16+) increased by 14,000 and now stands at 124,000,

a rise of 4.6%. The unemployment rate (16-64 years) is now 4.1%.

  • Employment (all aged 16+) decreased by 20,000 to 2,632,000.  The employment rate (16-64 years) now sits at 74.3%;
  • Inactivity (all aged 16+) decreased by 8,000 to 1,656,000. The inactivity rate (16-64 years) in Scotland is 22.1%.

·        UK Economy grew by 0.4%, annual growth in 2017 of 1.7%

·        Scotland annual growth in 2017 of 0.6%

TUC March and Rally and STUC Activity

·        TUC demonstration ‘A new deal for working people’ in London on Saturday 12 May 2018

·        STUC to encourage affiliates to offer support to TUC, but

  • STUC to focus on May Day activities (week 5 – 12 March)

        ‘Educate, Agitate, Organise’

First Minister meeting STUC General Council - 5 March 2018

     Trade Union Act 2016

·        Scottish Government and STUC to work jointly to consider developing guidance around Facility Time Reporting and to agree a positive statement to ‎that effect as a matter of urgency given delays in UK Government guidance.

Scottish Budget 2018

  • Block grant 50% of Scottish Budget
  • Fair and progressive tax system – Those earning less than £26,000 not paying more tax (55%). Need for a public debate on taxation- not just income tax
  • 3% pay increase those earning £36,500 (75% of staff), 2% above and £1,600 those earning above £80,000. Scottish Government has lifted the public sector pay cap, but not funded from Westminster. A multi-year deal to address the damage of previous years
  • Below inflation pay rise seen by public sector as a ‘pay cut’.

       Teachers expecting a significant pay increase


·        Little clarity at present (following meeting with Prime Minister)

·        No deal – worst outcome. Opposition to Withdrawal Bill

·        Businesses are preparing their plans in 2018 – assess impact for Scotland

Procurement Reform

  • improvement in policies following recent bad examples that highlighted the damages to services and workers (e.g. Edinburgh schools and Carillion)

·        Map fair work principles implementation within procurement and the impact on the living wage, blacklisting, insecure work and use of umbrella companies or payroll agencies.

·        Ending PFI/NPD, work with public bodies to minimise costs on existing projects including through buying-out schemes where appropriate;

·        Consider the merits of establishing a publically owned construction company to take forward key public infrastructure and investment projects;

     Fair Work Framework – in all workplaces in Scotland by 2025

·        Government strategic approach to drive Fair Work across government

·        Effective voice of the worker and collective bargaining in all workplaces

·        Government ministers to take responsibility for Fair Work

     Adverse Weather

·        STUC conducted a survey that highlighted unreasonable demands by employers insisting people get to or remain ignoring police advice

·        Workers losing pay for failure to attend and/or asked to use annual leave.

·        Unionised workplaces with Health and Safety reps less problems

·        Government and STUC to develop a ‘code of practice’ for all employers


Scottish Education Council

·        Two meetings so far (24 November 2017 and 10 January 2018)

·        Received paper on teacher recruitment and retention

·        Year 2 PEF funding discussed

Education Leaders Forum - 6 month cycle- recent meeting at Newbattle HS,

·        70 organisations (including public and 3rd sector)

·        2 workshops on closing the attainment gap and engaging parents 

National Improvement Framework - 7 February 2018

  • International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) - next meeting in Inverness, April 2018 to prepare final report for ministers
  • BGE Improvement Tool - For improvement purposes only
  • Comparator Tool for Improvement (testing at present) available early in 2018 initially to LAs then schools incrementally
  • Not intended for tracking/monitoring but will bench mark performance of schools
  • Does not impact on teacher workload (from existing information)
  • Scottish National Standardised Assessment - 100,000+ assessments completed
  • Norming study 1 complete - Norming study 2 will commence 12 March 2018.
  • Will lead to national overview of trends based on anonymised data
  • How data will be published still to be decided
  • Gaelic Medium Education - Contractor appointed in December (Giglets, Ayrshire) with standardised assessments available in Summer 2018

External Reference Group (HMI) Workshop - 22 February 2018

  • Governance Review has led to working with the Care Inspectorate developing a new framework by December 2018 (includes early years and childcare).
  • Developing a single Model of inspection for both sectors
  • Inspection of Local Authorities (LA) Initial focus on the 9 Attainment Challenge areas (part way through initiative) There is a link with Pupil Equity Funding (PEF).
  • Focus on raise attainment and poverty related attainment gap, not looking at the full range of LA responsibilities
  • Challenge Schools will be inspected through the existing school inspection process


Forthcoming Events


SSTA Professional Education Courses

**Dementia Awareness and Understanding Disability courses have been well received by members. Additional courses are being planned for summer term**

  • STUC Annual Congress, Aviemore, 16 -18 April 2018
  • SSTA Congress, Crieff 18 - 19 May 2018
  • STUC LGBT+ Workers Conference, Glasgow, 9-10 June 2018
  •  STUC Women's Conference, Dundee, 29-30 October 2018