General Secretary Report - October 2017

Industrial Action - Members are being advised to work within the SNCT contracted 35 hour working week and Working Time Agreement. Guidance available at


Teachers Pay Claim for April 2017

The pay claim is being discussed at the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT). 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 restoration of pay of short-term supply teachers

Education Governance

Next Steps - Empowering Our Teachers, Parents and Communities to Deliver Excellence and Equity for Our Children’ (June 2017). Includes:

  1. Consult on new funding model – not a national funding formula
  2. Establish 7 new “regional improvement collaboratives” (see COSLA below)
  3. Develop a Headteacher Charter
  4. Talks on new career pathways (Autumn 2017)

  1. Consult on Education Workforce Council – include GTCS and other education professionals (Autumn 2017)
  2. Introduce Education Bill (2018)
  3. Launch fast-track route to Headship (2018)
  4. Develop new “executive consultant head” and “cluster leaders” (2018)


Fair Funding Consultation closes on 13 October 2017

  • The consultation invites views on the way education is currently funded in Scotland
  • 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.

COSLA: Regional Improvement Collaboratives (ICs) for Education (September 2017)

A response to the Governments Next Steps Document includes:

  • Six collaborative regions with a ‘Regional Improvement Lead’ appointed by the IC and employed by a local authority (October 2017)
  • 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
  • Regional approach to staffing – recruitment and retention, build capacity
  • Support wider collaborative working across LA services
  • Each IC to develop a ‘workforce plan’ and decide their ‘model of staff deployment’

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 professionals
  • 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.


General Teaching Council for Scotland

The revised ‘The General Teaching Council for Scotland Fitness to Teach Rules 2017’ came into force on 21 August 2017


Strategic Board for Teacher Education (SBTE)

    Coherence in Professional Learning

  • To be led by Education Scotland (a reorganised body and operating role)
  • Teaching Unions have an important role (as identified at the ISTP in March)
  • Working Group to scope the direction and structure

    Initial Teacher Education Intakes 2017/18 & New Routes into Teaching

  • Secondary PGDE 1750 places below target at present
  • 10 new routes expecting up to 200 places
  • Entry requirements essential to maintain standards
  • Positive changes needed to make teaching attractive

Alternative Routes into Teaching

Learn to Teach Programme

  • Intended for LA employees released for Teaching Practice
  • An 18 months programme (120 places)

STEM + HE subjects (a pilot with 40 places)

  • 4 days a week in school
  • 1 day at University and Summer School
  • January to January
  • Not placed in departments that have vacancies
  • Paid at Unpromoted Teacher point 0 during the course


Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC)

Strategy and Operating Plan

The following priorities:

  • public services / public sector pay;
  • industrial strategy / key sectors; and
  • the changing nature of the economy / labour market (including precarious work / gig economy / automation)

Public services Campaign

The campaign will have the following political objectives:

  • policy change at Westminster and Holyrood to increase investment in public services; through redistributive tax measures and local government autonomy;
  • pressurise local government budgets to ensure maximum investment in democratically delivered public services.

The campaign with have the following industrial objectives:

  • the progressive restoration of pay levels driven by affiliates’ bargaining and industrial strategies; extending public service collective bargaining
  • achieving Fair Work objectives through affiliates bargaining power with an emphasis on influencing public service re-organisation;

To achieve these objectives the General Council will:

  • launch and brand a rolling three year campaign promoting the value of public service and the economic and social benefits of higher public service investment;
  • provide a space and create leverage with Government to enable public service affiliates to co-ordinate on pay:


New SSTA Website to be launched – 16 October


Forthcoming Events


STUC Women's Conference 2017

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

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.

SSTA School Representative Training – to be delivered locally details to be circulated


SSTA 2018 Congress 18 - 19 May, Crieff

Scottish Union Learning  

A programme of professional events for teachers to take place across Scotland dates and venues to be announced shortly


Dementia Awareness short course will equip learners with:

  • a greater understanding of dementia,
  • how to recognise the effects of dementia
  • an understanding of coping strategies
  • where further support can be found


Mental Health Awareness short course will equip learners with a greater understanding of Mental Health issues. Learners will be given an understanding of:

  • What are Mental health issues
  • Perceptions of mental health
  • Experiencing mental health problems
  • Different Types of mental health problems:
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Suicide and self-harm
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Schizophrenia
    • Personality disorders
    • Eating disorders
  • Legal considerations
  • What can individuals do
  • Medication and treatment
  • Useful organisations and signposting


Tackling Homophobia short course will equip learners with a greater understanding of homophobia and how to tackle it.

  • Understanding homophobia
  • Confidence to identify and challenge homophobia
  • Know how to develop strategies in how to Tackle homophobia
  • Understand how to support LGBT+ colleagues and young people


Understanding Disability short course will equip learners with:

  • A greater awareness of the range of disabilities
  • How to support people with identified disabilities
  • Understand why some people with disabilities may not self-identify with their additional support needs
  • How having a disability affects people and their ability to be valued at work


Use of Social Media – Personal Security

  • Computers, phones, and tablets are filled with personal information - but how can we keep that sensitive information out of the wrong hands?
  • In this workshop you'll learn about the most common cyber security attacks, but more importantly how to take steps to protect yourself.
  • You'll see live demonstrations of attacks and learn how to spot them.
  • These tips will help you feel more confident about using a computer safely. No technical knowledge is required.