Dundee teachers are voting on whether to strike over a new faculty structure for the city’s secondary schools.
Teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, opened a consultative ballot on Friday and has urged its members to show willing to strike in protest at the change.
It has warned that the new structure being created by Dundee City Council will lead to the loss of principal teaching posts and impact on pupils as well as staff.
Instead of having principal teachers for each subject, faculties will create ‘families’ of subjects headed by curriculum leaders.
Dundee teachers who are members of the EIS – Scotland’s largest teaching union – have just over a fortnight to vote and the result could lead to statutory ballot for strike.
Secretary of the city’s EIS local association, David Baxter, said: “There is absolutely no sound educational rationale for moving secondary schools to a faculty structure.
“These proposals would remove subject-specialist principal teachers from our schools, with damaging consequences for pupils and staff alike.
“The loss of subject principal teachers would remove invaluable experience and leadership from individual departments, while also increasing workload demands on class teachers and promoted staff.
“Dundee Council’s plans will damage our secondary schools and bring no discernible benefit for students or staff.”
Dundee City Council says the change will provide enhanced leadership, and most other areas of Scotland already have such faculties.
But Mr Baxter said it will cost money to implement which would be better spent on recruiting teachers.
This will have damaging consequences for the young people learning in Dundee’s secondary schools.”
David Baxter, EIS Dundee
It comes at a time when Dundee schools already face losing £4.9 million of government money due to changes how funding to target the poverty-related attainment gap is allocated.
Mr Baxter said: “This will starve already stretched school budgets even further, with less money available for school resources and staffing.
“Clearly, this will have damaging consequences for the young people learning in Dundee’s secondary schools.”
Urging fellow members to use their vote, he said: “We must send a very strong and very clear message to Dundee council that these proposals are unwelcome, damaging and must now be scrapped.”
Why are faculties being created?
Dundee City Council said the change is designed to improve the quality of learning and teaching in secondary schools by enhancing whole school leadership.
It said it had been discussed with trade unions and it was willing to continue talks.
Children and families convener Stewart Hunter said: “It is only one of a range of measures which are being taken forward in Dundee schools to improve the situation as we work to reduce the attainment gap.
“The curriculum has moved on hugely in recent years and there are now different pathways to develop skills for learning, life and work
“Faculties provide a much more integrated and effective approach than is possible through the current system.
“We all want to give our young people better life chances when they leave school.
“I believe that by moving our secondary schools to a faculty structure, we will be making significant steps to help achieve this.”