General Secretary Report -September 2017

Members are being advised to work within the contracted 35 hour working week and focus on teaching and learning. Additional guidance issued on

  • School Improvement Plans;
  • Working Time Agreements;
  • National 5 Changes;
  • Standardised Assessments and
  • Bench Marks
  • Current guidance and presentations are available at

Teachers Pay Claim 2017

The teachers side of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) submitted a pay claim for 2017 and discussions are to continue with the Government and Employers.

The SNCT claim includes

  • an uplift to meet the decline in ‘real’ value in teacher salaries since 2003 and bring Scottish Teachers into line with average teachers' salaries across the OECD
  • the importance of reward at the top point of the main grade scale in the retention and recruitment of teachers particularly following the removal of the Chartered Teachers scale and the decline in career opportunities
  • the restoration of pay of short-term supply teachers
  • a reduction of class contact time and a reduction in class sizes to control teacher workload.

 Education Governance: Next Steps - Empowering Our Teachers, Parents and Communities to Deliver Excellence and Equity for Our Children – June 2017

  • Consultation focussed on supporting decision making in schools, empowering teachers, parents and communities, strengthening ‘the middle’ (clusters, education regions, fair funding and accountability
  • Next steps - a system where teachers are the leaders of learning in our schools, with the responsibility for delivering excellence and equity
  1. Consult on new funding model – not a national funding formula
  2. Establish 7 new “regional improvement collaboratives”
  3. Incorporate SCEL into Education Scotland
  4. Develop a Headteacher Charter
  5. Talks on new career pathways (Autumn 2017)
  6. Consult on changes to strengthen parental involvement (Autumn 2017)
  7. Consult on Education Workforce Council – include GTCS and other education professionals (Autumn 2017)
  8. Introduce Education Bill (2018)
  9. Launch fast-track route to Headship (2018)
  10. Develop new “executive consultant head” and “cluster leaders” (2018)
  11. Every school access to a home-school link worker (2019)

 Fair Funding Consultation closes on 13 October 2017

  • The consultation invites views on the way education is currently funded in Scotland, the purpose of developing a new, more consistent approach to school funding, and the principles that should underpin any changes.
  • As set out in Next Steps, the Scottish Government does not intend to develop a fixed national funding formula.
  • The consultation seeks views on two possible approaches to achieving that aim.

7th International Summit on Teacher Professionalism 2017 - Scotland Priorities

  • To jointly develop a programme for professional association led equity related CPD including impact and evaluation
  • To jointly consider ways of facilitating and incentivising deep professional learning
  • To jointly consider career pathways that reflects a range of options for teachers including increased collaboration, leadership development and strengthening the centre

International Council of Education Advisers – Initial Findings July 2017

Improve pedagogy for specific subjects:

  • Establish and fund a network of proven and well-trained teaching
  • Identify a systematic, sequenced and selective plan for literacy and numeracy
  • Expanding the role of universities to work more closely with schools

To develop effective leadership:

  • Provide a greater financial incentive to encourage leadership roles and, in particular, headships.
  • Establish clear, broad and multiple career pathways for teaching professionals, and look at ways for teachers to progress while remaining in the classroom (e.g. as a teacher mentor employing leadership skills within a classroom environment, or by leading change in pedagogy in a certain subject area) other than the more administrative route to headteacher.
  • Bringing together leaders from teaching, local authorities, business, etc

Ensure a culture of collaboration:

  • Incentivise collaboration by making it a required criteria for any financial programme
  • Establish a national training programme on how to collaborate fully
  • Look at creating federations of schools

The issue of governance (advised against too focussed on changing the structure):

  • Learn from existing attempts to formally share education services
  • Create learning hubs to learn about different elements of educational practice.

 Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA)

  • Timetable for change set by DFM and Assessment National Qualifications Group
  • Nat 5 course specifications and course support materials due in September
  • Higher changes for 2018-2019 session – timeline not determined yet
  • Advanced Higher for 2019-2020 session
  • Unit Materials (aligned with SQS5) still stand but not aligned to Nat 5 courses

 Education Scotland

a) Bench Marks

  • All curriculum areas published on 23 March in Word and PDF formats
  • Numeracy and Literacy including in 2016 NIF. Not required for other subjects
  • Dissemination events to be arranged through Local Authorities (including NIF)
  • Teachers are NOT required to use them but are for awareness raising
  • Inspectors will NOT be looking for Bench Mark evidence during Inspections
  • Highlighted teacher workload and needs to be included in 2017-2018 WTA


b) Standardised Assessments

  • To be introduced for S3 in 2017-2018
  • Scholar for training (administration and using the data)– materials for teachers by August 2017, online, webinars, face to face
  • TWIG develop a video and fitting in with teacher judgment and a help desk
  • Highlighted teacher workload and needs to be included in 2017-2018 WTA


General Teaching Council for Scotland

a) Innovative Routes to Teaching (10 routes with less than 300 places)

  • GTCS are working at accrediting the various routes but are only prepared to accredit courses that meet the standard.

 b) GTCS Registration

  • Secondary teachers in Scotland are normally registered to teach a particular subject. This registration ensures that only these teacher deliver National Qualifications
  • Local Authority/Headteacher are responsible for any other arrangements (not the teacher)
  • Teachers can seek an additional subject should they hold a relevant degree.
  • Teachers can seek recognition through additional study

 c) MyProfessionalLearning (MPL)

  • Teachers looking to retire should consider bringing forward MPL before they leave their post as this would allow further teaching for a further 5 year period.

d) GTCS Elections

  • Closing date for nominations Monday 25 September - 5.00pm

 Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC)

a) STUC Women's Conference 2017

  • 30 - 31 October in the Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, Fife.

b) STUC Annual Congress 2018

  • STUC Annual 121st Congress in Macdonald Aviemore 16 -18 April 2018


  • Annual St Andrew’s Day March and Rally, “No Racism: Educate, Agitate, Organise” which will take place on Saturday 25 November 2017.

d) STUC/First Minister Biannual Meeting

  • Next meeting Wednesday 8 November

 Scottish Union Learning  

  • Further funding for Scottish Union Learning in 2017/2018 has now been received. This funding will support SUL core costs, the Development Fund, the Learning Fund and training delivered through TUC Education in Scotland.
  • SSTA allocated £10,000 over two years to assist with education and training.
  • Program to include:
  • use of Social Media,
  • understanding Mental Health
  • tackling Homophobia,
  • understanding Disability and
  • Dementia Awareness


SSTA Forthcoming Events

  • District Secretaries Training Friday 29 September 2017
  • School Representative Training – to be delivered locally details to be circulated
  • SSTA 2018 Congress Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May, Crieff (tbc)
  • New SSTA Website to be launched – date tbc
  • A programme of professional events for teachers to take place across Scotland to be announced shortly (see SUL above)
Published on 21 September 2017 - Information for Members

Contact Details

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

0131 313 7300

Monday to Thursday – 9am to 4.45pm Friday - 9am to 4.15pm

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