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EDITIONS
Monday, 23 April, 2001, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
The 35-hour teachers' week
scottish primary school
Classroom time is to be limited
The deal which gives teachers in Scotland a 35-hour limit to their working week will not take effect fully for some years, starting from this August.

It followed the report of the McCrone Committee but the final agreement struck between the Scottish Executive and the unions did not follow the committee's recommendations precisely.

This is how the deal will work:

The working year of 195 days remains unchanged. This involves 190 days of teaching with five set aside for training.

There are another 35 hours a year which teachers can use as they wish for "continuing professional development" - enhancing skills and keeping them up to date.

The big breakthrough so far as teachers in England and Wales are concerned is that Scotland has a limit of at most 35 hours' work a week.

This is divided into three parts:

  • time in class, which is to be reduced in stages to a maximum of 22.5 hours for all primary, secondary and special school teachers by August 2006
  • preparation and marking time, which has to be at least one third of that class contact time - that is, 20 minutes for every hour with pupils
  • time for other activities to be agreed within schools but covered by a national code of practice.
Teachers do not have to spend all their 35 hours in the school: Marking, for instance, can be done where and when they wish.

But schools have to make time within the 35 hours for planning and for writing pupil reports and attending parents' evenings.

Staff meetings can be outside those hours - but only if staff agree.

If teachers volunteer to supervise pupils for extra-curricular activities they can count the time towards their 35 hours.

Head teachers cannot force teachers to run such things as breakfast or homework clubs.

Higher salaries

On pay, the agreement promises a minimum rise of 23.1% by August 2003.

The controversial performance-related pay "threshold", which gives teachers in England and Wales access to a higher pay scale, does not apply in Scotland.

Instead there is a "chartered teacher" grade, which is similarly open to those on the top of the main classroom grade.

Chartered teachers get extra salary points by completing professional development modules - there is no performance management system.

Part of the agreement involves a commitment to increase the numbers of teachers by 4,000.

Negotiations ongoing

Not everyone is happy. At the annual conference last week of the National Association of Teachers Union of Women Teachers a Glasgow delegate, Julia Butler, said: "Not everything in our garden is rosy."

"It's theoretically possible for a teacher to earn 35,000 - In the same way that it's theoretically possible for Partick Thistle to win the Scottish Cup."

And on the working week, she said the way Glasgow City Council was proposing to calculate the hours would mean teachers working up to 39 hours.

But Derek Kennedy from Edinburgh said this would not happen: The deal was a binding contract.

"There will be problems with employers but that's what we have a union for," he said.

Plans he had seen from another big authority - which he did not name - were perfectly acceptable to the union.

"We could have written them," he said.

See also:

22 Apr 01 | UK Education
18 Apr 01 | UK Education
12 Feb 01 | Scotland
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