Secondary teachers vote to strike over workload


Indicative ballot points to worsening relations between education sector and Scottish government

SECONDARY SCHOOL teachers have voted in favour of using strike action to settle a dispute over workload with the Scottish Government in an indicative ballot.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association’s (SSTA) roughly 8000 balloted members voted by a 91 per cent majority to take industrial action short of a strike, and 64 per cent said they were willing to take strike action over their current workloads, which the union claims are too high.

Quoted by the BBC, SSTA general secretary Seamus Searson said: “The ballot clearly shows that members are unhappy with the current proposals.”

“Teachers have insufficient time to carry out the over-bureaucratic arrangements set out by the SQA.

“The SSTA is requesting that the new cabinet secretary John Swinney, together with local authorities as the employers of teachers, take control of the situation and impose limits on teacher time being spent on such activities that are taking teachers away from teaching and learning.”

The ballot also consulted SSTA members on their feelings towards a range of proposed and existing measures aimed at reducing workload.

James McEnaney: A simple question for Nicola Sturgeon

It found that teachers believed that the Scottish Government’s ‘Tackling Bureaucracy’ report had not reduced workload in 96 per cent of schools, and that 96 per cent of teachers lacked confidence in the Scottish Qualification Authority’s (SQA) plans to reduce workload in 2016-17.

The Scottish Government campaigned on education reform in the 2016 Scottish Elections.

Party leader Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly stressed that changes to education, including reducing the attainment gap between the poorest and richest student, would be the test of her next government.

She appointed the second most senior figure in the government, former finance minister John Swinney, to head up education at the start of the new parliamentary term.

Proposed changes to education, especially the proposal to introduce a limited form of standardised testing, have caused considerable tensions between teachers and the Scottish Government.

Picture courtesy of Scottish Government

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.