Reducing workload for teachers in Scotland

SNCT discussion paper Reducing Unnecessary Workload Through Increasing Teacher Agency and School Empowerment

 

By Dougie Atkinson, Senior Professional Officer (Scotland)

On 8 March 2019, the Deputy First Minister  Deputy First Minister John Swinney wrote to the Joint Chair of the SNCT Teachers' Panel outlining a revised pay offer (pdf) for the teaching profession. As well as the financial aspects of the pay offer, the offer also set out an additional package of measures, detailed below, which would be developed with professional associations and partners in local government:

  • joint work on reducing unnecessary workload;
  • additional in-service days for professional learning;
  • the development of new professional learning opportunities for teachers focusing on teachers’ health and wellbeing;
  • the establishment of a Teacher Innovation Fund;
  • enhancing the current Teacher Leadership Programme; and
  • establishing a mechanism for independent analysis of pay and conditions of service.

These measures were approved by SNCT in the pay agreement of 25 April 2019 in which all parties agreed to “work together to reduce the workload of teachers and to undertake joint activity to assist in reducing and preventing unnecessary workload through increasing teacher agency and school empowerment.”

At the SNCT meeting in September 2019, we discussed a paper, prepared by Education Scotland and Scottish Government, which takes this forwards: Reducing Unnecessary Workload Through Increasing Teacher Agency and School Empowerment (pdf).

Its purpose is to note:

            a) the suite of proposals for additional professional learning activity to support teacher agency in order to reduce workload; and

            b)  that Education Scotland will proceed with detailed scoping work in partnership with the Scottish Government, professional associations and employers. 

The paper focuses specifically on four of the areas outlined in Mr Swinney's letter:

  • the development of new professional learning opportunities for teachers focusing on teachers’ health and wellbeing;
  • the establishment of a Teacher Innovation Fund;
  • the enhancement of the current Teacher Leadership Programme; and
  • joint work on unnecessary workload.

You can read the paper here (pdf) and I would be interested in members' views, either posted below or sent to me in confidence at scotland@voicetheunion.org.uk

Thank you.

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