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APPENDIX II to the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 13 October 1998 (Article 6(c) refers)

MINUTE of MEETING of the JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (TEACHERS) held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 15 September 1998 at 3.30 pm.

Present: Authority Representatives

Councillors BRIAN MILNE, Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, Mr JIM ANDERSON (Director of Education) and Mr NEIL LOGUE (Head of Educational Services).

Teachers' Representatives

Mr GRAEME KIDDIE, Mr BRIAN McHARDY, Mr ARTHUR PRITCHARD, Ms ANNE TRUESDALE, Ms LESLEY ANDERSON, Mr JIM FALCONER, Ms DONNA HAYES and Mr PHILIP JACKSON (Joint Secretary).

Also Present with the Concurrence of the Committee:-

Mr HUGH ROBERTSON (Head of Client Services, Personnel Department).

APPOINTMENTS

Prior to the commencement of business, Philip Jackson (Joint Secretary) advised on the following appointments.

(a) under the terms of Paragraph 4(a) of the Constitution, Lesley Anderson had been appointed Vice-Convener;

(b) Graeme Kiddie had been appointed in place of Mr Steven Cargill as one of the EIS representatives;

(c) Brian McHardy and Lesley Anderson had been appointed as teacher representatives on the Short Life Working Group on Curriculum Design for the Secondary Stages; and

(d) Arthur Pritchard had been appointed as a teacher representative on the Short Life Working Group on In-Service Training.

1. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

There was submitted and approved as a correct record the minute of meeting of the JCC (Teachers) of 27 May 1998.

(b) Central Consultative Committee

There was submitted and noted the minute of meeting of the Central Consultative Committee of 18 August 1998.

Brian McHardy expressed regret that a number of the teacher representatives had been unable to attend the Central Consultative Committee meeting due to in-service training being held that day.

The Committee noted the concerns regarding the timing of the meeting and agreed that, if possible, this situation should be avoided in future.

2. MATTER ARISING

Education Department Consultative Group

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 27 May 1998, Jim Anderson reported that the final draft Constitution of the Education Department Consultative Group had been agreed and indicated that, at its first meeting held in June, the Group considered emergency weather closures of schools, the review/appraisal of nursery nurses and training for Janitors. The next meeting of the Group was scheduled for 27 October 1998.

The Committee noted that a copy of the draft Constitution would be forwarded to the Joint Secretaries of this Committee for information and that, in future, issues arising from the Group would be reported as appropriate.

3. EXPRESSIVE ARTS 5-14: THE WORK OF VISITING TEACHERS

There was submitted by the Director of Education draft Guidance for Primary Schools and Visiting Teachers entitled "Expressive Arts 5-14: The Work of Visiting Teachers". The Guidance outlined the roles and responsibilities of visiting teachers and gave an overview of conditions of service.

Arthur Pritchard welcomed the document as a useful guide for schools. However, he expressed concern regarding adequate time for consultation and planning between visiting teachers and school staff and identified a need for future guidance on staged entry to Expressive Arts. He also sought clarification of the role of authority personnel in relation to management and deployment of visiting teachers.

Having heard Jim Anderson, the Committee agreed to note:-

(i) the terms of the draft Guidance;

(ii) that the Director of Education would submit to this Committee, in due course, a revised version of the Guidance.

4. RECRUITMENT PROCEDURES FOR UNPROMOTED TEACHING POSTS

Jim Anderson submitted a draft discussion paper entitled "Recruitment Procedures for Unpromoted Teaching Posts". The discussion paper detailed the strengths and weakness of the current procedures and set out alternative arrangements for permanent and temporary unpromoted teaching posts. The Report also highlighted issues to be addressed from the alternative arrangements.

In terms of current procedures, no unpromoted teaching posts were advertised. Instead, a register of teachers seeking posts was held centrally within the staffing section of the Education Department and, whenever a vacancy occurred, it was filled by an appropriately qualified teacher from this register or by the transfer of a teacher from another post. Every effort was made to ensure that teachers who provided satisfactory services as supply and/or temporary teachers but who aspired to permanent positions were considered for any permanent posts, in accordance with the National Scheme of Conditions of Service for Scottish Teachers. However, several Scottish education authorities had, in very recent times, adopted quite different recruitment procedures.

Alternative arrangements proposed for Angus Council related to permanent posts only. Any permanent post which fell vacant would be advertised and existing members of staff would be expected to make separate applications for any advertised permanent post in which they had an interest. Similarly, teachers not currently in the employment of the Council would be expected to make separate application. The Head Teacher of the school concerned would receive a list of applicants and would be responsible for interview procedures including the appointment of an appropriate selection panel. It would be the responsibility of the Director of Education to approve the panel's recommended appointment.

The Report concluded that, whilst there were good arguments for retaining current arrangements, there was a compelling case for change and recommended that the procedures described in Sections 4 and 5 of the paper should form the basis for discussion within the JCC (Teachers) and with Head Teachers.

Arthur Pritchard welcomed the principles underpinning the document as a basis for discussion. He identified the need for a trial period to examine in particular the composition of selection panels, the financial and staffing implications of the changes and equal opportunities in the appointment procedures.

The Committee noted that the Director of Education would progress the recommendations outlined in the discussion paper, taking account of the above comments.

5. HIGHER STILL

(a) Proposal for Two In-Service Closure Days for Secondary Pupils in 1998/99

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee held on 25 August 1998, there was submitted Report No 866/98 by the Director of Education advising of a Government proposal, outlined in a letter from SOEID, that secondary schools could be closed for pupils for two additional days in Session 1998/99 to enable teachers to undertake further training in the preparation of the early stages of the implementation of Higher Still. The Education Committee had approved Thursday 10 June 1999 as an additional in-service closure day for secondary schools and recommended, subject to consultation with this Committee, Friday 11 June 1999 as the second in-service closure day.

Graeme Kiddie welcomed the two additional in-service training days but expressed the view that 7 May 1999 would be more appropriate than Friday 11 June for in-service training purposes in terms of timetabling and supply cover.

The Committee noted that further comment on the revised date would be sought from secondary Head Teachers and final proposals reported to the next meeting of the Education Committee.

(b) Other Issues

Brian McHardy referred to a recent press announcement on Higher Still and welcomed additional funding in respect of the initiative. He indicated that Curricular Advisory Groups (CAGs) were currently examining the programme for the November in-service training days on Higher Still and Head Teachers had recommended that national trainers should be available for training on the November days, being the first training opportunity in Higher Still for all unpromoted teaching staff.

Neil Logue agreed to the employment, as far as possible, of national trainers for the November training days. However, he pointed out that the quality of national trainers varied and that expertise might have to be sought from elsewhere. He stressed that the November days were important for staff to articulate their needs for curriculum and assessment resources for Higher Still and indicated that a decision on supplementary resources would be made on receipt of feedback from the training.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

6. EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE SURVEY

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of Tuesday 8 September 1998, there was submitted the findings of the recent Angus Council Employee Attitude Survey. The Director of Education sought ways in which the findings of the survey could best be addressed and issues identified in the agreed Action Plan implemented insofar as the Education Service was concerned.

Anne Truesdale noted that there had been many positive responses to the survey. She requested a breakdown of results for the Education Department. She pointed out that, according to the survey results, 68% of employees were working in excess of normal working hours and intimated that this was an area of concern. Another area of concern was the perceived relevance of some employee training. She also highlighted the need for better consultation between managers and employees and suggested that this would increase the percentage of staff who felt valued by the Council.

Jim Anderson responded that the survey had been carried out by an Independent Research Company in order to maintain anonymity of respondents. He indicated that he had received statistics in relation to the Education Department as the research company had been careful not to break confidence by supplying specific statistics relating to teachers. However, he agreed that separate breakdowns on teaching and non-teaching staff might have been useful.

He suggested that, as a way forward, a Short Life Working Group might be established to provide input on the implementation of the Council’s Action Plan, and suggested that two or three teacher representatives could form a useful sounding board on the Action Plan.

The Committee noted:-

(i) that the Director of Education would, in consultation with appropriate teacher representatives, implement the Action Plan which had been developed from the findings of the Employee Attitude Survey; and

(ii) that progress would be reported to this Committee when appropriate.

7. STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND REVIEW

Jim Anderson reported on progress in respect of staff development and review. The process had been first implemented by Tayside Regional Council and had been continued by Angus Council. The Tayside Regional Council approach had been welcomed by the Scottish Office as a positive step in development and review. New guidelines issued by the Scottish Office indicated that all teachers should have had a development review interview by June 1999. He suggested that this aspiration was unlikely to be met due to practical difficulties. A few teachers believed the process was voluntary but the main problem was due to the hierarchical nature of the process which meant "blockages" had occurred at senior staff level in certain schools. However, most teachers who had been reviewed had found it to be helpful and positive. He sought a unified approach from the authority and JCC in order to move the matter forward.

Brian McHardy considered that the problem was mainly one of management of the process. Senior staff experienced difficulties in prioritising the many initiatives imposed by Government, including Higher Still and 5-14 Development. He agreed that reviews could be positive if sufficient time were available. He suggested there was a role for the In-service Review Group in terms of progressing the matter.

Having heard Jim Anderson on the need for the review process to be used to address priorities such as Higher Still and 5-14 Development, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the support of teaching staff in completing the staff development and review process;

(ii) to accept that the staff development and review process should form an integral part of the development planning process; and

(iii) to ask the Director of Education to provide an update on the position in due course.

8. "ACHIEVING SUCCESS IN S1/S2" - PROPOSALS FOR ACTION

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 25 August 1998, there was submitted Report No 867/98 by the Director of Education advising that Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools (HMI) had recently published a Report entitled "Achieving Success in S1/S2 - A Report on the Review of Provision in S1/S2" and setting out in an Appendix, proposals for addressing the findings of the Report in secondary schools in Angus. The Education Committee had endorsed the proposals for action, had authorised the Director of Education to monitor the implementation of the proposals and had referred the Report to this Committee for its interest.

Brian McHardy highlighted issues in connection with procedures and policy. In relation to procedures, he suggested that there had been a lack of consultation with the JCC and that the Short Life Working Group on "Achieving Success in S1/S2" had no representation from a professional association. He considered that the one day seminar on the subject was inadequate as a consultation process. He accepted that the policy had now been established, but considered it unfortunate that the teachers’ representatives had not had the opportunity to make a more positive contribution. He acknowledged that Head Teachers would have had the opportunity to consult with staff on earlier drafts of the policy but stressed that due to time restraints, it was unlikely they would have been able to do this systematically.

Jim Anderson noted the points raised and regretted that teachers felt they had not been adequately represented. He pointed out that the seminar had been positive and the comments made at the plenary session had been taken into account. In addition, he pointed out that it was not practice that every Short Life Working Group included a representative nominated by professional associations.

Thereafter, Brian McHardy referred to the policy set out in the Appendix to the Report. He welcomed the designation of a promoted member of staff as co-ordinator in terms of timetabling, but raised concerns regarding workload and conditions of service, given in particular that there were no clearly identified staffing or financial implications. He also suggested that the use of "dual specialist" teachers could lead to a lack of professional development of the persons concerned.

Jim Anderson referred to Recommendation 12.4 which stated that schools should plan the deployment of teachers qualified in more than one subject. This did not necessarily mean that the dual specialist should teach more than one subject every year.

Graeme Kiddie referred to recommendation 12.9.1 and asked what would happen to teaching staff currently offering "taster" courses. Jim Anderson responded that there would be no financial implications arising and (for example) that redundancy was not an option which would be considered. Thereafter, Mr Kiddie asked that consideration be given to the re-introduction of the "timetablers" course.

Jim Anderson suggested that information technology could be delivered as a core skill. As such, it should not be necessary to timetable IT as a separate subject but schools should be committed to a collegiate approach to IT which would inform the development planning process.

Brian McHardy referred to Recommendation 12.13 regarding the development, in Autumn 1998, of detailed education authority Guidelines on time allocation across the S1/S2 curriculum. Jim Anderson advised that this matter was being considered by the Short Life Working Group on Curriculum Design in Secondary Schools but he suggested that the Educational Developments Advisory Group (EDAG) would be an appropriate forum to consider these Guidelines further. Members of the JCC were represented on this Group.

The Committee agreed to note the position and the teachers’ representatives’ comments.

9. GUIDANCE ON ISSUES CONCERNING EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL: SOEID CIRCULAR NO 2/98

With reference to Article 15 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 25 August 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 822/98 by the Directors of Education and Social Work informing of a recent Government Circular which provided guidance on exclusion procedures. The Report set out the implications of this guidance for Angus Council. The Education Committee had agreed to authorise the revision of the existing Council Guidelines for Exclusion from School within the terms of Circular 2/98, and to confirm revised Council Guidelines for Exclusion from School on completion of the revision exercise referred to in the Report.

The Report had also been referred to this Committee for its interest and Jim Anderson reported that the Guidelines were currently being considered by the Troubled and Troublesome Working Group, which included teacher representatives.

Arthur Pritchard expressed the view that target setting on exclusions would not be appropriate as statistics were not representative of circumstances relating to particular cases. Problems arising from exclusion often required inter-agency solutions.

Jim Anderson responded that target setting on exclusion had not been imposed on authorities by SOEID although he felt that there was merit in some target setting to identify trends in exclusions across Angus. Arthur Pritchard agreed that there was a need for continued staff development towards the introduction of alternative solutions but stressed the need to concentrate on internal procedures rather than national target setting.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

10. SALARY PAYMENT DATES

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 27 May 1998, there was submitted the second draft of a Report by the Director of Education seeking comment on a proposal that the monthly payment date for teachers' salaries be amended to be the last week day of each month.

Arthur Pritchard indicated that teacher representatives were not supportive of the proposed change. He highlighted practical difficulties in terms of alteration of banking arrangements, etc. He asked for an assurance that any savings arising from implementation of the proposal should be directly targeted at schools.

The Committee noted that the matter would now be considered by the Education Committee.

11. DISCIPLINARY AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES FOR TEACHERS

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 27 May 1997, there was re-submitted a Report by the Director of Education seeking the views of this Committee on proposals for disciplinary and grievance procedures for teachers as set out in the Appendices to the Report.

Jim Anderson referred to the considerable previous consultation with the JCC on the content of the Appendices. He recognised that the content of Appendix 3 on dismissal of teachers was the subject of national legal action, but sought support for Appendices 1 and 2 on disciplinary and grievance procedures other than dismissal.

Anne Truesdale welcomed the procedures outlined in Appendices 1 and 2 but reserved the teachers’ position on Appendix 3 in the meantime.

The Committee agreed to recommend that the Education Committee should adopt the disciplinary and grievance procedures outlined in Appendices 1 and 2 and that Appendix 3 be reconsidered by this Committee in due course.

12. ASSAULTS ON TEACHERS

There was submitted Report No 957/98 by the Director of Education relating to 15 incidents involving violence and/or aggression to staff which had occurred during the period from 23 April 1998 to 21 August 1998.

Having heard further details from Jim Anderson, the Committee agreed to note the nature of the incidents.

13. DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

The Committee agreed that its next two meetings be held on the following dates:-

Thursday 3 December 1998 at 3.30 pm

Monday 22 February 1999 at 3.30 pm.

It was noted that the latter date was subject to confirmation.