SSTA Response to Governance Review

SSTA says ‘Put Pupils First – Give Teachers Time to Teach’

The SSTA would argue for a process of review followed by improvements rather than major structural change in its response to ‘Empowering teachers, parents and communities to achieve excellence and equity in education: A Governance Review’.

The SSTA believe that structural change only diverts energies and resources away from the main challenge of ‘closing the attainment gap’.

Seamus Searson, SSTA General Secretary said “Unfortunately this review does not include the people and the structures in the school that support teaching and learning. The SSTA believes that the Government needs to place the pupil/teacher relationship at the centre. Teachers need to time to teach and the support system needs to focus on the pupil/teacher relationship and remove the burdens and pressures on teachers’ time”.

“The consultation omits to provide an appropriate level of detail in terms of the roles and responsibilities of the various bodies within the education sector – this mitigates against an informed response. It would be unwise to make crucial decisions on the future of education based on the responses from such a consultation”.

Seamus Searson added “Teachers in the classroom should make the decisions about pupils, supported by the Headteacher and the Local Authority. Schools do not need further delegation; if anything Local Authorities should be taking back some of the duties which have been passed onto schools over the past few years due to financial cut backs”.

Euan Duncan, SSTA President concluded “The difficulties recruiting headteachers reflect the growing unmanageability of the post. It is worth noting that, in identifying the scale of the problem, many experienced depute heads have expressed their reluctance to be enticed by headteacher posts. The prospect of further delegation of responsibilities and funding to headteachers in schools will only worsen the headteacher recruitment crisis. The existing Devolved School Management Guidance and Toolkit allows for a significant degree of devolved decision making at school level”.

Extracts from the SSTA Response
The Local Authority is the management arm of the education system. As the elected representative of the community the Local Authority is the body that needs to play its role in supporting the learning taking place in schools, and where necessary seek improvement. It is essential that local schools feel part of the community. The direction of the school should be determined by the community that is able to see the long term plan and benefits.

Education Scotland should be the implementation arm of the Scottish Government. Education Scotland should be the driving force for curriculum development and excellence. It should see itself as responsible and accountable for the delivery of the curriculum in every school. Education Scotland should not be independent of the schools and Local Authorities but working in partnership with and responsible for the education in our schools.

Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL) should not be independent of, but be part of Education Scotland and be a normal part of the partnership with Local Authorities in developing the full potential of the education workforce.

General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) is essential in maintaining a register of teachers, and setting the professional standards of teachers in Scotland.

However, SSTA sees a conflict in GTCS being responsible for the Student Placement System and Teacher Induction Programme as the GTCS moves away from its regulatory function and begins to fulfil the role of the employer.

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is important in its two main roles of accreditation and the awarding qualifications in Scotland. The SQA is not the employer of teachers, but has been allowed to place heavy demands upon teachers and schools that have unbalanced the school system. The SQA through the new regime of National Qualifications has undermined teacher professional judgement, skewed the curriculum and placed impossible burdens on pupils, teachers and schools.

The SSTA's full response to  Empowering teachers, parents and communities to achieve excellence and equity in education: A Governance Review'  can be downloaded here SSTA Full Response to Governance Review

Further information from:

Seamus Searson
General Secretary