Educators in Dundee are united in their opposition to council plans to cut principal teachers.
Dundee City Council is looking to save £2m a year by scrapping principal teacher roles in favour of creating new faculties in secondary schools. The plans were passed as part of the council’s budget earlier this year.
Members of teaching union EIS met late last week and there was an overwhelmingly negative feeling towards the move. It was the first time teachers from across the city came together to express their dissatisfaction.
Big turnout at meet to oppose faculties. All secondaries represented. Our collective opposition couldn't have been clearer. Thanks to D. Baxter and S. Brown for the guidance as to how we challenge this divisive and damaging proposal. Unity is strength. If we stand together we win
— Dundee EIS (@DundeeEis) March 28, 2019
Dundee’s eight high schools each have 17 principal teachers and the SNP administration is proposing to create eight “curriculum leaders” in each school in their stead.
Approximately 26 primary teacher roles will also be lost.
The union is now looking to get around the negotiating table with the local authority to prevent this. EIS members have not yet balloted members, but strike action is not being ruled out.
EIS is still waiting for a breakdown of how much the council expects the restructuring to cost but children and families services convener Stewart Hunter insists the plans will be phased in and job losses will not take the form of compulsory redundancies.
There are fears the cost of implementing the new system would actually add to the council’s wage bill for at least three years, according to Dundee EIS secretary David Baxter, as well as leading to an increased workload for teachers.
Mr Baxter said: “We’ve met members on this before, but this meeting was the first time we’ve had members from schools across the city together in one place.
“It was well attended and so far not one of our members have said these proposals are a good idea.
“A lot of the work that principal teachers do will still need to be done, so who is going to do that? It is likely these cuts will increase the workload for teachers as that work will still be there.
“And it is going to increase the wage bill for at least three years as it is implemented, with the new roles likely to come in as other staff are phased out.
“We’ll be putting our concerns to the council and seek to secure the best deal we can for our members. It’s a bad move.”
Mr Hunter said: “In common with every other council in Scotland, we want to introduce curriculum leaders who will cover a family of subjects with enhanced whole school leadership responsibility.
“This will be phased in over three years when opportunities arise and compulsory redundancies are not part of the plan.
“The new model will allow teachers to teach and give school managers more time to lead on the many complex issues associated with the day-to-day running of schools.
“Trade unions will now be consulted as plans to introduce the changes are developed and implemented.”