Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP laid out yesterday a plan to back teachers with a range of proposals designed to restore the status, strength and resilience of the profession to be discussed at the party's conference next month.
The party has repeatedly called for McCrone 2 - an independent expert commission to review teachers' terms and the demands placed upon them. In Dunfermline on 8 September, delegates will now be asked to back the Commission designing and delivering better conditions for teachers including:
- A new “teacher premium” for schools in disadvantaged areas consisting of pay supplements designed to attract and reward the best teachers for the schools in greatest need;
- New, optional, three-year packages for probationer teachers – consisting of the current one-year probationary period plus two further guaranteed years – to help local authorities get graduates to take up posts in certain geographical areas such as the Highlands and the North East.
- New retention bonuses paid to new teachers who commit to posts in hard-to-fill areas;
- A guaranteed minimum level of support staff in every school to allow teachers to focus on the needs of each individual pupil;
- A pay rise for teachers to reflect that starting salaries are 20% lower than comparable professions
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott commented:
"Teachers should be at the very centre of efforts to strengthen Scotland's education system and close the attainment gap.
"Recent research however shows that 70% of Scotland's teachers do not feel valued and only a minority would recommend the career to others. As the new term approaches there are almost 700 teaching vacancies in our schools and the first national strike over pay in a generation is on the cards.
"The SNP asked to be judged on education and they have fallen well short.
"That's why Scottish Liberal Democrats are committing to put our trust in Scotland's teachers to restore Scottish education and make it the best again.
"This is a clear and innovative plan for making sure teachers are in a position to give every child the best possible education. This is what you get when you back the Scottish Liberal Democrats."