Scots Teachers Prepared To Strike

Almost two-thirds of a teaching union's members are prepared to go on strike over increased workloads caused by the introduction of new qualifications.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) sought the views of its members on measures proposed by the Scottish Government to address issues such as bureaucracy, stress and workload.

Its indicative ballot of 8,000 members found 91% of respondents are prepared to take industrial action short of strike action while 64% are prepared to strike if necessary.

Seamus Searson, SSTA general secretary, said the results showed teachers are "clearly unhappy with the current proposals'' to address workload concerns.

The ballot also found 96% of respondents lacked confidence in proposed Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) measures to reduce workload in the 2016/17 school year.

Mr Searson added: "Teachers have insufficient time to carry out the over-bureaucratic arrangements set out by 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''.

SSTA president Euan Duncan said: "Much of a teacher's time is now taken up with SQA assessments and verification of assessments within their school and local area.

"Should any teacher decide to keep their working week within the 'working time agreement', the reality is that they would be unable to develop the necessary resources for learning and teaching.''

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The fact that the SSTA decided to hold an indicative ballot was disappointing.

"We are committed to tackling bureaucracy and freeing up our teachers to teach and the Scottish Government has been working with unions, local authorities and other partners to address concerns over workload.

"We recently created a working group, which includes the teacher unions, to focus on what more we need to do in the system - in the short and long-term - to further embed the new qualifications and to reduce assessment workload for teachers and young people.

"The report on the group's early discussions was published less than two weeks ago, and clear and specific actions have already been taken by SQA and Education Scotland.

"We will continue to do all that we can to free up our teachers to teach for the benefit of all in our education system.

"Given that we are addressing these issues, industrial action would not be in the interests of anyone, least of all pupils and parents.''

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