Union to urge teachers to reclaim profession from ‘bean counters’

A union chief is to call on teachers to take “take back the profession from the bureaucrats and bean counters”.

Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) General Secretary Seamus Searson will say public servants dealing with education and stakeholders such as parents and politicians need to “see their place” as supporting teachers.

In his address to the union’s annual congress in Crieff on Friday he is expected to warn the Scottish Government not to bypass teaching unions in education decisions, saying: “The Government tries to gather about itself those who will not challenge it and then justify the decisions it makes by saying it consulted stakeholders.

“Teacher unions are partners in education and must be given the proper respect, must be listened to and have their views taken seriously if we want an education service for the future.

“Without the teachers there is no education. That is why the teacher voice is essential in shaping and delivering education.

“All the education bureaucrats and stakeholders need to see their place as supporting teachers in the classroom.

“The days of the back seat driver in telling teachers what to do needs to stop.”

He will add: “The Government must mean what is says and put pupils at the centre, allow teachers to teach and put appropriate assessment in place for all pupils at all levels across the secondary school.

“As more and more pupils are staying in education it is time for a review of the curriculum and national qualifications.

“This is not an opportunity to start all over, but to talk to teachers – the unions who represent and speak for teachers – identify what works, what is appropriate and put a plan together for implementation.”

He will continue: “Now is the time for teachers to take back the profession from the bureaucrats and bean counters.”

Council umbrella body Cosla declined to comment on Mr Campbell’s claims.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “All teachers should feel valued – that is why we are already taking a range of actions to put in place additional support to improve recruitment and retention rates, improve pay and tackle workload wherever possible.

“As part of the teacher pay deal, we have reached a landmark agreement which brings together a partnership between local authorities and professional associations to tackle critical issues.

“We will continue to work with the SSTA to identify where there is action we can take to improve the daily lives of teachers.

“The Scottish Government has always worked closely with all the key partners in Scottish education, including teachers, in the development and implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.”

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