Members Bulletin - 20 September 2019

National Qualifications - Multi-Course Teaching 

The SSTA conducted a members survey at the end of the last session on the extent of ‘Multi-Course’ teaching in S4 classes. The SSTA received 1,247 responses that showed a wide disparity of practice across Scotland. The survey results will be published next week and will complement the Education and Skills Committee Report seeking a review of the Senior Phase.

The SSTA has continuously campaigned on the unfairness, to both pupils and teachers, of multi-course teaching and your support through the survey is the evidence to bring this issue to the fore.

Additional In-Service Days 2019 to 2020
As part of the package of wider measures agreed by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers relating to the 3-year pay deal, it was agreed that two additional in-service days should be made available during the current academic year to allow schools to focus on key issues such as workload, additional support and empowering schools.
There was a recognition that workload was, and still remains, a significant issue for teachers.  A condition of the unions in accepting the pay award, there were to be mechanisms put in place to address workload as part of the nationally agreed conditions of service for all teachers. This is non-negotiable in so far as that these two days are to be used.
Activity relating to excessive workload or unnecessary bureaucracy should focus on sustainable, strategic solutions whether at whole school or department level. 
Please follow the link to detailed SSTA guidance.

Teacher Pensions - Update

The outcome of the legal challenge (McCloud & Sargent) regarding Public Service Pension Schemes and the transitional arrangements that were introduced in 2015 to help protect those members of the schemes closest to retirement. This case has shown that the transitional protection discriminated members of the scheme on the grounds of age.

The SSTA has been in discussion with the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) on this matter.   The SSTA fully expects the SPPA to implement the required changes and it is anticipated that any member who may have been disadvantaged will be dealt with fairly.  As  the case has already been won on behalf of firefighters and judges, the principles established in this case should change the teachers’ scheme too.  The SSTA will continue to engage in existing collective bargaining arrangements on  members behalf. The SSTA is aware that some members have been approached by outside bodies regarding pursuing personal claims at their own expense. SSTA does not believe there is any merit in members engaging with such bodies as the process is on-going at the with the SSPA. If you have any concerns regarding your situation please contact SSTA Head Office at 

Removal of Recognising Positive Achievement (RPA)

The interim measure of ’Recognising Positive Achievement’ – the automatic fallback to National 4 –  came to an end at the close of the 2018-2019 session. From session 2019-20, candidates who are unsuccessful in their National 5 course assessment but who have passed a combination of SCQF level 5 freestanding units, and the National 4 added value unit, will no longer achieve the National 4 course. Learners will be certificated for the qualifications in which they have both been entered for and have achieved – subject to quality assurance. Please follow link to SQA document  
The SSTA advises that pupils must be prepared for the appropriate National Qualification based on teachers’ professional judgement. Pupils should continue to be presented for qualifications at the most appropriate level for their needs. This is to ensure unnecessary workload for both teacher and pupil are managed during the school session. Unfortunately, previous experience has shown pupils on the margins are placed under considerable workload and stress levels that should be avoided.

National Qualification Malpractice

The number of cases of qualification malpractice has been steadily increasing over the last few years and can leave teachers’ careers in jeopardy.  SQA will highlight all incidences of malpractice to the employer who will carry-out an investigation that may require a period of suspension, disciplinary proceedings and dismissal. All dismissals are referred to the GTCS and teachers may be removed from the GTCS register.
SSTA advises all members to acquaint themselves with the current requirements and procedures laid down by the SQA in all matters of national qualifications. SSTA members are also advised not assist or amend pupils’ work. If members are being coerced or placed in compromising positions from any source within or out with the school they should contact the SSTA Head Office for advice at