Scotland politics

EIS attacks SNP move to end chartered teacher scheme

Scotland's biggest teaching union has condemned a decision to scrap a scheme which increased teacher pay in return for boosting their skills.

Education Secretary Mike Russell said the chartered teacher scheme would be replaced with a new, masters-level qualification.

But the EIS said the move was "ill-conceived" and driven by cuts.

The move came in response to a report on the teaching system, which said more flexibility was needed.

Responding to the McCormac review of teacher employment, Mr Russell said the strategy would ensure a strong teaching workforce.

Mr Russell also said the system for supporting the professional development for teachers would be revamped.

And he said the government was cautiously taking forward calls to boost education by bringing non-teaching, outside experts into schools.

The chartered teacher scheme offered pay rises to staff who took advanced studies.

The education secretary told MSPs: "We should aspire to a vision of teaching as a masters level profession and we will do so by building on the chartered teacher scheme.

"Chartered teachers and those in the process of becoming chartered teachers should be given credit for the work that they have already undertaken and will be among the first to access these opportunities for masters qualifications."

'Measured approach'

Hitting out at the decision, EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said: "Scotland's chartered teacher scheme has drawn praise from around the world as an example of best practice in improving overall teaching quality, yet now it is being sacrificed in an ill-conceived, cost-driven cut.

"The value that chartered teachers bring to Scottish education is well known and appreciated by all working in our schools but, sadly, the cabinet secretary has simply accepted the anecdotal and poorly evidenced findings in the McCormac Report in his decision to scrap the scheme.

"It is a real slap in the face for these dedicated teaching professionals that the cabinet secretary has now announced the death of the chartered teacher scheme."

Elsewhere, Mr Russell said there would be a "measured approach" towards the issue of external experts in schools, adding: "There is broad agreement on the positive opportunities that employers, the local community, universities, colleges and others can bring into schools, but there are also concerns."

The McCormac review, undertaken by Stirling University principal Prof Gerry McCormac, said teachers needed more flexibility to do their jobs better.

It said the amount of time teachers spent in the classroom should be measured over a longer period, and that they needed more support to run before and after school activities.

But the report recommended the current 35-hour working week for teaching staff should remain, as well as the amount of class contact time, set at 855 hours.

The Scottish government is taking forward its reforms in conjunction with an expert group.

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