General Secretary Report - September 2015

Health and Safety Reps

  • A well-attended training event took place in June. Topics included asbestos, safety on social media, pupil risk assessment, stress and violence.

School Representatives Training

  • A well-attended training event took place in August. Topics included WTA, managing workload, stress and absence management.

Pension Briefings

  • An update of the 2015 pension changes and their implications have been arranged in Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow, Perth, Stirling, Edinburgh, Troon, Dundee and Fife . Other venues to be added see
  • The new scheme allows teachers to make arrangements to reduce the age of retirement to 65 or by a maximum of 3 years. However, it needs to begin within 6 months of entering the scheme. Teachers born after 1 October 1965 need to make the decision by 1 October 2015. Those born between 1 April 1962 and 30 September 1965 have a sliding deadline view here

First Minister and Cabinet Secretary

  • ‘Closing the Gap’ – increased funding for Early Years, the introduction of standardised tests, student support through EMAs, and the introduction of Attainment Advisors in all local authorities. view here
  • SSTA seeks additional resources for Secondary Schools, which includes increasing the number and training of Guidance and ASN Teachers.
  • SSTA emphasised the need for collaboration of schools and support services to work together and support all pupils to reach their full potential
  • SSTA to propose a range of measures for secondary schools to meet the challenge

Education Scotland

  • SSTA returned to the CfE Management Board. Next meeting in September.
  • Review of the Inspection Process for implementation in the autumn 2017. New arrangements to be trialled from September 2015.
  • How Good is Our School (HIGIOS)? To be relaunched 23 September. SSTA met with officials in June as part of the review

‘Named Person’

  • SSTA issued a Fact Sheet to advise members of the potential changes
  • Government working with the SSTA in developing the guidance view here

SQA - New Qualifications

  • Acknowledgement of the commitment of SSTA members in the delivery and improvements in qualifications in August 2015.
  • The SSTA met with the SQA in June and raised issues identified in the SSTA survey including bureaucracy, verification processes, information on website and training. Next meeting in September
  • A major concern is the value and excesses of the internal assessment regime
  • A survey of members to be undertaken in February 2016

General Teaching Council Scotland

  • The GTCS has been asked to make provisions for Further Education Lecturers and has celebrated its 50th year in June
  • SSTA has met with GTCS on the process/stages of the complaints procedure

Professional Update

  • The guidance materials for Senior Managers has been issued by the Senior Mangers Advisory Panel was well received View here
  • PU focus group meeting to discuss personal CPD entitlement and the reduction of the administrative procedures (still a major concern)

Scottish Parent Teachers Council

  • The SPTC is piloting a programme to increase parental involvement in secondary schools

Scottish Trades Union Congress

  • Campaign launched to oppose the changes in trade union laws in Scotland

Supply Teachers

  • SSTA to campaign to restore pay levels and the introduction of a National Register for supply teacher view here

Working Time Agreements

  • Salaries Conditions of Service Committee issued updated guidance on Working Time Agreements
  • SSTA to advise members to adhere to the WTA in resisting the increasing demands being placed upon them

Absence Management

  • Guidance has been issued to members on the process
  • Increasing examples received of schools using the procedure to ‘bully’ teachers. guidance has been issued to members on the process
  • SSTA advocating a review in LAs to produce a fair and supportive procedure


The Curriculum for Excellence Working Group on Tackling Bureaucracy Follow-up Report published in March 2015

  • Assessment should be based on professional judgement. Tracking pupil progress and moderation is important; however there is no need for large folios of evidence to support it.
  • Forward Planning should be proportionate; there is NO need to plan, assess, record or report every experience and outcome. Planning should support professional dialogue rather than to fulfil an audit function
  • Monitoring and Reporting –ICT planning and reporting systems should be used with CAUTION. Just because such systems can support very detailed planning and reporting, does not mean they should be used in that way.
  • Self-Evaluation and Planning – over-reliance on audit “tick box” distracts from quality teaching and learning.
  • SSTA guidance to be issued to members.


  • The Managements offer of 1.5% for 2015 and a further 1% in 2016 is likely to be agreed but union side is seeking a restoration of supply teacher pay rates and guarantees on teacher numbers. View here
  • Increasing concern over the movement away from Principal Teacher system to a Faculty structure and protecting subject specialism,
  • SSTA is to develop a new career structure to encourage more teachers to remain in the classroom.

Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) 29-30 June

  • OECD Working Group on Education, Training and Employment Policy
  • Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning: Progress Report on OECD activity (final international report Dec 2016)
  • The OECD Skills Outlook 2015
  • Skills and Wage Inequality
  • TALIS 2013 Impact upon education policies and future developments. Views of teachers next survey 2018
  • Education Marketers: Corporate involvement in Education (e.g. Pearson)
  • PISA for Development An initiative to enhance PISA. Concern raised about the focus upon assessment (testing) as a way of developing an education system.
  • OECD Review of Policies to Improve the Effectiveness of Resource Use in Schools

British Irish Group of Teacher Unions (BIGTU) 8 June

  • Teacher Workload a common issue across the BIGTU region. Agreement   reached to compile information on terms and conditions for teachers in each education sector in each jurisdiction. SSTA agreed to undertake a survey and collate the information.
  • Internal Assessment TUI/ASTI dispute following a government decision to replace external examination with internal assessment at Junior Certificate (15 to 16 year olds). Following industrial action an agreement has been reached with the Irish Government. See
  • Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
  • Resolution at World Congress EI (UCU/IFUT) opposition for education to be included in international trade agreements. ‘Stop TTIP and other similar Trade and investment Agreements (1.13)
  • England – new government. Education Bill – no opposition to conversion and sponsorship of schools (underperforming and ‘coasting’ schools) out of LA control into Academies.
  • Northern Ireland - The refusal to implement welfare reforms and set a budget is putting the NI Assembly at risk. The uncertainty is impacting upon on schools and staff and anticipating further cuts in education
  • Republic of Ireland - Health and child-care will big issues in the forth-coming election. Education needs to raise its profile in the coming months. Public sector looking at pay increases in 2016 and 2017. This follows a 5 year period of serious cuts in pay and increased pension contributions.