Letter to School Representatives

Dear Colleagues  

Please accept my apologies for adding to your workload at an already very busy time of year.   I hope you will find the content of the letter both informative and helpful.   As always please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish further information or support.  

Many of you will have been aware of the problems faced by a teacher in Glasgow who was injured at work.   The response of her employer was at best unsupportive and at worst cruel.     The case is not yet settled so I can give you no further information but it does raise a number of issues which need to be addressed.      

I asked District Secretaries to supply the office with copies of their Local Authority policy on dealing with violent incidents.     Only one authority appears to have a written policy on ‘how to deal with a fight' with others having, at best, a vague statement about ‘thinking about your safety before deciding what action to take'.   I strongly recommend that you discuss this issue at district meetings and ask your authority what action they would take in similar situations, where a teacher intervenes in a fight to protect pupils and receives injuries not covered by NHS treatment.   It is vitally important that teachers are fully aware of their employer's policies on these matters and indeed that employers actually have a policy which deals with injury to staff as a result of a violent dispute between pupils.   It is even more important that this discussion takes place before employees find themselves in the dreadful position our member was placed in by her employer.    

Enclosed with this letter is a copy of the Workload survey, part 2.   Please take the time to complete the survey and return it, either by post, online or via your school rep.   It is vital that we receive as many replies as possible.   A poor response rate will result in COSLA dismissing the results and declaring that teachers have no concerns about workload.   The response we received in December clearly indicates that this is not the case and that teachers are working far too many hours, many well over the 10 hours in excess of contract which COSLA freely admits is essential to the job.  

The SSTA was recently challenged by the Cabinet Secretary to provide evidence of Curriculum for Excellence not being ready for implementation.   His question was quite simply ‘what do secondary teachers need to implement CfE effectively?' and our answer must be unequivocal.   You will therefore, receive another form during March which I will ask you to complete, detailing the gaps in CfE, the information you need before it can be successfully implemented and what additional problems the initiative is causing you and your department.   When the questionnaire arrives during March please take the time to fill it in and return it; it may well be our last chance to make our views known.  

We will, of course, inform you of the results of both initiatives as soon as they become available.    

With best wishes  

Yours sincerely        

Ann Ballinger

General Secretary