Proposals to scrap principal teachers in Dundee high schools have no “educational rationale,” a leading trade union official has warned.
Dundee City Council’s SNP administration is proposing to restructure the set-up in secondary schools as part of efforts to reduce the devolved school management budget by 3%.
Currently, there are 17 principal subject teachers and the administration is proposing to replace these with eight curriculum leaders.
Subjects would be grouped into eight faculties: languages, maths and numeracy, sciences, technologies, expressive arts, social studies, health and wellbeing and religious and moral education.
David Baxter, EIS branch secretary for Dundee, said the plans would also see a reduction in teacher numbers across primaries and secondaries, which would impact the city’s schoolchildren.
He said: “Teachers already work more than they are contracted to do.
“This is terrible news for schools in Dundee, with a deep 3% cut to core funding following on from many painful years of austerity budgets.
“This cut will have a detrimental impact on the educational experience of young people in Dundee, and will also lead to a loss of teaching posts across the city’s schools.”
Mr Baxter added: “The planned move to a faculty system has no educational rationale, and is purely designed as a cost-cutting measure.
“In other parts of the country where faculties have been introduced, the result has been the removal of many teaching posts and the loss of invaluable subject specialisms within the new faculties.
“The loss of specialist heads of department in many subject areas can lead to a lack of support for teachers and pupils alike, with serious implications for the workload of class teachers and a damaging impact on the learning environment for pupils.”
Mr Baxter also said the plans risk being out-of-date before they can be implemented.
He said the publication of the independent Career Pathways report next month could supersede the administration’s plans.
The report will look at various options for teachers’ career development.
He said: “I think there’s a number of developments in Scottish education that are in the pipeline so they could probably be overtaken by events.”
The proposals would see the new curriculum leaders paid more than principal teachers currently earn in order to reflect their additional responsibilities.
Principal teachers who do not get one of the new posts will have their principal teacher salaries preserved for three years before dropping down to a normal rate of pay.
But Mr Baxter warned this could end up costing schools more in the short-term.
He said: “The introduction will have to be managed very carefully otherwise you will end up increasing the staff bill.”
Announcing the proposals on Monday, the SNP group’s finance spokesman Willie Sawers said the move would allow teachers to spend more time in the classroom.