The following document has come into our hands by a circuitous route.  It should be read in conjunction with the note that follows it.


End of term report for: Master L. A. Cosla, Class 5a

Subject: Modern studies – Future of Scottish Education

Project: Pupils were invited to propose a draft submission to the review of Scottish education being carried out for the Scottish Government by Professor Gerry McCormac of Stirling University.  Their project has been graded according to the key proposals they made.
Pupil’s proposal


Teacher’s comment
In order to encourage high performance by head teachers there is a case for them being on renewable rather than permanent contracts


You have fundamentally misunderstood what motivates people at work and before your final exam you would profit from familiarising yourself with Alfie Kohn’s  seminal book Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes
Consideration should be given to the satisfactory completion of training courses in order for teachers to be re-accredited as teachers by the General Teaching Council of Scotland


Your argument in favour of properly structured continuing professional development is compelling but take care in how you link that to the continuing right to a job
Teachers on promoted posts below head teacher level should be on short, fixed-term contracts, subject to appraisal, for promoted posts below head teacher level


See my comment about performance of head teachers above.  You seem to make the tenure of these jobs even more at risk than the more senior posts – something perverse there!
Teachers on promoted posts below head teacher level should also move between different schools so that future leaders acquired a broad range of experience


The proposal to move promoted teachers between schools is an interesting one but linked with your other suggestions above smacks more of punishment than career development
There is a case for primary head teachers graduating to become secondary heads


This proposal very much positions primary head teachers as the lesser of the two sub-species.  It’s true they earn less but their schools are usually much smaller and have smaller budgets.  Anyhow, are the two client bases (if you want to take a business-like approach to this issue) not very different?  What about secondary head teachers taking primary school posts?  I cannot see this suggestion as fundamental to the issues you were asked to address
The number of in-service days could increase from the current five a year, and they could take place during pupils’ holidays because the current system was too disruptive to pupils and required hard-pressed councils to pay for temporary staff


An interesting proposal that would merit further development in your final project submission.  You could make the point that the current five “in-service days” are already taken from the notional 200 days a year schooling pupils are supposed to receive.  Perhaps link to the amount of holidays teachers receive each year?
“Counting hours” is inappropriate for professionals and teachers should move from a 35-hour week to a more flexible model of about 140 hours a month


Are you suggesting more “flexibility” or more work?  Your standard grade maths should have taught you that a 35-hour week is about 140 hours a month!  This is a difficult issue you should develop further.  It would be interesting to know how many teachers already work more than their contracted 35 hours a week
Primary teachers should no longer spend a maximum 22.5 hours a week teaching in the classroom in order to provide time for preparing and marking (because of the additional expense of paying for cover staff)


Another proposal (poorly expressed) that needs further development before it could become a valid argument.  I think a good case may lurk here but it needs to be developed further
The amount of time secondary teachers spend in the classroom should also be examined


See my comments on primary teachers above
Head teacher’s comment:I agree with the comments of your modern studies teacher.  In addition you might wish to consider whether your proposals get to the heart of the future challenges for Scottish education.  Given the resources available to you in school and your understanding of the subject I am somewhat disappointed at your overall conclusions

Readers unaware of the Scottish education system may not know that Master L. A. Cosla is in fact the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.  It would have been good to judge their proposals against their own words.  Unfortunately the only available account of their submission to Professor McCormac’s review is a leaked version reported by the BBC on 23 May 2011.  COSLA have been quoted as saying they may amend their comments but have not released their current submission.  The views of Master Cosla’s teacher and head teacher in his end of term report may of course bear no resemblance to those of any real teacher.  But they do take account of this blog author’s many years experience working in and for the public sector, as well as his active parenthood for almost as many years and his membership over the years of various school boards and parent councils.