The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) has commented on the report published today by HMIe (Schools Inspectors) entitled “Teaching Scotland's Children.” “Whilst we welcome the many positive findings from the report, it contains several simplistic and unwarranted assumptions,” said David Eaglesham, General Secretary of the SSTA. “The report states that the Agreement between Teachers, employers and the

Scottish Executive has been by and large successfully delivered in all of its aspects. Recruitment has improved, there is much greater flexibility in schools, there is a more constructive environment, better CPD exists, and support for new recruits is greatly improved.”

“Where the report fails, however, is in seeking to interpose, retrospectively, standards for pupil attainment, the effect of local restructuring and National Priorities for education as if these were themselves part of what was agreed in 2001. They were not. In this sense the report becomes an attempt to rewrite history and to analyse programs against a revised set of purposes. This is inaccurate and cannot be sustained.”

“The Teachers' Agreement was reached against a background of plummeting morale and deep disenchantment amongst teachers about salaries and conditions. The improvements within the Agreement were primarily intended to address this deficit. None of the parties sought to set future standards by which improvement in education might be addressed. Had this been the case, much detailed work on linkage would have been required and this would have been published at the time.”

"It is clear that standards have improved in our schools and education systems. To what extent this stems from the Teachers' Agreement and the extent of future required improvement are matters of conjecture and not analysis at this stage.”As an Association we are fully committed to the best possible system of education in Scotland and our members are committed to delivering this. If output measures are required, then these need to be agreed in advance amongst the stakeholders and we will be happy to participate in such an exercise within the ‘Curriculum for Excellence.'”

Further information on this release may be obtained from:DAVID EAGLESHAM

General Secretary