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SEJ Feb 2013 Article: Teacher goodwill can only be stretched so far

As discussions continue over the teachersí pay settlement for 2013-14, the EIS has warned that teacher goodwill is essential to the success of Scotlandís school system. In the previous edition of the SEJ, we highlighted that the terms of the pay claim had been agreed by EIS Council.

This claim has now been formally submitted through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) and calls for action to reverse the real-term decline in teacher pay.

Recent independent research, commissioned by the EIS, highlighted the real-terms decline in teacher pay, as well as other issues such as the large amount of unpaid overtime worked by Scottish teachers.

Here, the SEJ highlights some of the concerns over teacher workload and examines some of the key findings of the independent research which supports the 2013-14 pay claim.

Recent independent research indicates that Scotlandís teachers consistently report more hours of unpaid overtime than other graduates in Scotland with the exception of teachers in the rest of the UK.

EIS General Secretary, Larry Flanagan referred to the research commissioned by the EIS into teachersí pay, "Teachers Earnings in ScotlandĒ, (Stewart Research 2012) and noted the 9 hours average additional unpaid work was consistent with research undertaken by the University of Glasgow on behalf of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) in 2006 which indicated that teachers were, on average, working 45 hours per week with promoted staff working around 55 hours.

Mr Flanagan said, "The average teacher gives more time in unpaid overtime to provide quality education than the time afforded for personal preparation and correction in the contract which is set at 7.5 hours.Ē

Mr Flanagan stated that a long hours culture is not conducive to the healthof Scotlandís teachers.

He stated, "Last year the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that stress had become the single most common factor in staff absence in the UK.

Teaching is a highly stressful job. Wehave seen an increase in punitive and less supportive absence management procedures over recent years. However, little attention is paid to the long term impact of presenteeism when teachers feel compelled to turn up even when ill or feel pressurised to work long hours.

There is no doubt that the current culture stores up long term problems and has led to a growth in psychological issues relating to employment.Ē Mr Flanagan added, "We are well aware that stress is rising in the public sector with job loss and pay freeze destabilising highly motivated employees such as teachers.

However, government and employers are not only undermining the jobs and living standards of public sector employees, they are threatening the psychological wellbeing of such staff. That is not good for services and certainly not good for the economy.Ē


Teachersí earnings in Scotland report (the key points)


The independent report Teachersí Earnings in Scotland (Stewart Research, 2012) was commissioned by the EIS following its Special General Meeting (SGM) to explore the realities of teacher pay in Scotland.

On the facing page, we highlight some of the key findings of this report which informed the EIS Salaries Committee and Executive in the formulation of the recent pay claim.

The report was produced for the EIS to inform their bargaining agenda in relation to the pay of teachers in Scotland. The aims of the research that underpins the report were:

  • to assess the impact of the recent economic recession, and in particular of the 2 year public sector pay freeze in Scotland from 2010, on teachersí real and relative earnings;
  • to analyse how teachersí earnings compare with those of graduates employed in other occupations;
  • to analyse how teachersí earnings compare to those in other professional groups;
  • to assess which professions are the most appropriate comparators against which to examine teachersí earnings;
  • to examine earnings comparisons across relevant comparators in both the public and private sectors; and,
  • to examine the relationship between the possession of a Masterís level qualification and earnings for teachers and non-teachers in Scotland and the UK.


The reports draws on the extant national and international literature on pay and occupational earnings differentials, and on teachersí pay comparisons in particular.

The findings presented derive from analysis of data published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), primarily the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS).