McCormac Report – a summary
Removal of Annex B and Annex E (1, 3)
McCormac’s contention is that a profession should not be governed by lists of duties that is should and should not do. Instead he suggests that teacher contracts should link to the relevant GTCS standards. Teacher unions are very concerned about this as they feel it would be an open door for head teachers and local authorities to push more duties on to teachers – it would also move elements of the teacher contract from the SNCT to the GTCS. AHDS can see the case for removing one or the other but believes that it is the wrong time for such a move when there is incredible pressure on public finances and a consequent lack of trust in the system that such a move change would mean anything else but more duties being pushed onto schools with less staff to undertake them.
Refreshed PRPD, training for reviewers (2, 4, 5, 15)
Teachers and other staff who work with pupils should have a ‘revitalised’ Professional Review and Personal Development, all those doing reviews should be trained and HT review should include tools such as 360-degree appraisal. AHDS agrees with all of this but is concerned about whether the resources are available to do this and that the new PRPD process should not be an onerous administrative exercise.
Professional update & links to PRPD (6,7)
GTCS should develop a system of reaccreditation or professional update and CPD requirements should be linked to PRPD. The second part of this makes good sense but, again, AHDS is concerned that the resources are not currently available to provide the CPD this more rigorous review system will demand. The first part – development of reaccreditation – is an obligation that was placed on GTCS in the legislation making it independent so in that sense is nothing new.
Focus on quality CPD (8,10,11,13, 14, 21)
35hrs CPD should remain but not be seen as a time limit. A rigorous and relevant programme of CPD should be available to all, including supply teachers, and be delivered without disruption to pupil learning where possible. All welcome but again, in the context of budget cuts it is difficult to see resources being made available to make this a reality.
Greater mobility of all teachers (9)
All teachers, including promoted staff, should move more freely between posts as a part of their professional development. AHDS agrees with this recommendation provided moves happen only through agreement – not through imposition.
More flexibility for HTs (13, 17, 18, 27, 28, 31, 32)
AHDS welcomes the proposals that: non-class contact time can be ‘rolled-up’ rather than be a week by week entitlement; devolution of resources to allow HTs to determine their own promoted post structure; introduction of short-term PT posts (provided substantive PTs remain as they are). We are open to the idea of external experts being used to augment (but not replace) teacher input though it is easy to see how this proposal might be abused if very clear parameters are not agreed.
Removal of Chartered Teacher (19,20)
AHDS suggested in its response to the review that CT needed to be reviewed (to make links to classroom practice more explicit and to place limits on entry to ensure affordability) or be removed. This position hasn’t changed.
Working time arrangements (23-25, 27, 28)
Class teacher unions don’t like 23 and 27 – ‘Teachers should normally remain on the premises during the pupil day’ & ‘contact time should be considered over a longer period such as a month or a term’. We do.
Adequate time should be provided for collegiate working and involvement in the wider learning community. HTs should ensure appropriate time is allowed for marking, preparation and peer review. Teachers, in consultation with the HT, should be responsible for the education of their class for the whole pupil week – but needn’t be in the class for all that time. All this seems perfectly reasonable to AHDS but a lot remains to be worked out in relation to collegiate time.
Job sizing (30)
There should be a further review of job sizing to address anomalies and ensure consistent application. We welcome this but don’t think it goes far enough. Rather than refer this to the SNCT for adjustment we would prefer to see a full review as we believe the toolkit is systemically flawed.
No change (12, 16, 22, 26, 29, 33, 34)
Lots to remain the same – including salaries as McCormac concluded they were at an appropriate level. While we would agree with that conclusion at the time of McCormac’s report we do not believe a pay freeze combined with proposed changes to pension contributions and benefits result in an appropriate package for teachers or school leaders.
AHDS believes this report is designed to enhance rather than attack the teaching profession – it is not an assault on terms and conditions. It contains some recommendations which aim to re-set the balance between teacher rights and school leader ability to direct activity in schools – we very much welcome this.
Of course, the report is not necessarily what will happen – it is a set of conclusions and recommendations which are open to a range of interpretations. All of this will be subject to negotiation, and no doubt considerable change, over the coming period. Watch this space for updates…
For the full report visit www.reviewofteacheremployment.org