Message to Members - 25 October 2021

Safety First – the fight against Covid-19 continues

Covid-19 has not gone away and the SSTA has welcomed the Government decision to continue mitigations including face coverings in schools. There was a push from some to reduce the mitigations to match other measures in other settings. However, that is not taking into account that the majority of the school population are not vaccinated and it is in the secondary school age group that the highest increase in cases of covid is occurring. The SSTA believes the priority must be to ensure teachers in schools are kept safe so that schools can remain open. This may be an unpopular position as we all know how unpleasant the current mitigations are, but they must remain in place for all until it is safe to reduce them. The failure to adhere to the mitigations will lead to schools being closed and pupils being sent home due to the lack of teachers in the coming months.

The SSTA is still insisting upon a national message rather than allowing any local discretion or interpretation at a local level to remove mitigation measures. The SSTA advises all members to take all precautions to keep themselves safe.

The SSTA has constantly said, at all engagements with Government and employers since schools returned in August, that we are not back to ‘normal’ and our only focus must be on teaching and learning as the central part of education recovery.

The existing Government guidance ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools’ to ensure a low-risk environment for learning and teaching still applies.

This includes:

  • Risk assessments to be continued
  • Environmental cleaning, hand and respiratory hygiene to continue
  • Ventilation – strengthened guidance for local authorities on CO2 monitoring
  • Face coverings in communal areas and secondary classrooms to continue
  • Physical distancing for adults at least 1m but 2m distancing expected to remain for logistical purposes
  • One way systems to be continued
  • Staggered start and stop times/ break and lunch times
  • Restrictions on assemblies
  • Support for people in the highest risk groups/pregnant staff
  • Restrictions on school visitors to continue

SSTA Members Briefing and Pensions Update 2021

The SSTA has arranged briefing sessions for members in the coming week.

The General Secretary, Seamus Searson, will give the latest information regarding Covid-19, national qualifications and the Education Reform review. There will also be a presentation on the impact of the Teachers’ Pensions consultations and the changes due to take place in April 2022 by Stuart McCullough, Independent Financial Advisor from Llife Ltd.

The briefings will be conducted remotely and will take place on:

Please select the briefing you would like to attend and complete the registration form to book your place using the links above.

Teacher Pay Negotiations 2021 – No progress to report

It has been reported that the Teachers’ Side of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) declared a formal dispute over the sub-inflationary pay offer made to Scotland’s teachers (1.22%). The declaration of dispute was a direct result of the delay in an improved offer being made by COSLA following an extended period of negotiation. 

The pay claim for 2021 was lodged in December 2020. However, the Teachers’ Side remains willing to continue negotiations through SNCT Extended Joint Chairs in the hope of a negotiated settlement.

To date, no meeting of the SNCT Extended Joint Chairs meeting has been called and the teacher unions will have no option but to progress the dispute and move to consult its members on the actions they are prepared to take to achieve a suitable pay settlement for 2021.

SSTA 76th Annual Congress (part two)

The SSTA 76th Annual Congress (part two) took place on Saturday 2 October 2021. The Congress was a hybrid event with some delegates attending in person whilst the majority attended virtually.

The Congress included an address from John Guidi, SSTA President, the report of the SSTA General Secretary Seamus Searson, guest speakers Professor Walter Humes and Professor Mark Priestley, together with a number of policy motions adopted by the Association.

Please follow the link to the SSTA Congress 

Request to all members

SSTA Membership – A must for all Secondary School Teachers

The pandemic has made the recruitment of student and newly qualified members extremely difficult and we welcome your support in encouraging new colleagues in to the Association. Students in training and new entrants to the profession pay no subscription for sixteen months from the date of their teaching post. So please help to recruit your new colleagues to the only secondary specialist teachers’ union in Scotland.

All new members to the Association can benefit from our new special offer of 50% off the normal subscription for the first 12 months of paid membership when completing a direct debit with their application. This represents a saving of up to £95.00 a year based on the current 2021 subscription paying by monthly direct debit. Terms & Conditions apply

Click here to complete the online enrolment form and join the SSTA


SSTA says ‘Put Teachers at the Centre’