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Democracy died today

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by poor tom, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. Perhaps it's time for a mass petition from teachers in that Authority to submit a mass petition to their councillors?
    If it could be organised so that the petitions were only sent if at least (say) 50% of staff in a school had signed, I don't imagine I would have any difficulty in supporting such a move.
    If, of course I were to be working in the affected Authority.
    They surely couldn't sack all of <strike>us</strike> them????
  2. I emailed every member of the Education Committee about this in March when the Edinburgh Evening Chip Paper ran a similar story. Most of them replied and all that did agreed that it was the right of every citizen in Edinburgh to contact their elected members on any matter they wished. The following is typical of the replies -
    "Teachers, as individual constituents within a Ward, should indeed be able to contact their Councillors in a personal capacity about any concerns they have and not fear disciplinary action as a consequence. Indeed, many do contact me and I'm in the farcical position of having to anonymise such complaints for fear of damaging them professionally"
    Most promised to raise this at the next committee meeting.
    I also emailed Gillian Tee and this is taken from her reply:
    "The key part relating to elected members is as follows: &ldquo;Complaints relating to any aspect of your employment with this Council should not be raised directly with elected members, even if you are a citizen of Edinburgh&rdquo;. This does not, of course, prevent staff, like any other member of the public, raising issues of concern about the services of their local council with elected members." (the bold is mine)
    Teachers living in Edinburgh pay Council Tax and are just as entitled as other Council Tax payers to question how their money is spent. They may also be parents and again have every right to question what the council provide for their child's education.
  3. I wrote to my MP about this when it first came up. I think it's shocking to deny constituents access to their elected representatives.
  4. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    Interestingly- Back in January we discussed the silencing of teachers by councils- I'd been advised by my local EIS rep that we shouldn't write to the local press as we legally can't criticise our employers, and that if we'd been doing 35+ hrs a week, then that automatically became part of our contract according to Scots law. See thread link.
  5. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Now, where's bigjimmy when you need him...
    If you raise an issue with a councillor, and the councillor fails to deal with it at all, then it puts him / her in contravention of the Code of Conduct which can result in sanctions. The action does only have to be referring you to your HT or to the relevant officer. Personally, if I had a query like this I'd deal with it anonymously as much as possible - if it reached a point where I couldn't do anything more without using the teacher's name then I'd make that clear to the teacher and allow them to make the choice about how to move forward. If there is a specific concern about working practices in a school then a councillor can investigate, can meet with staff / parents to discuss, and raise with an officer. He might have to step back at that point (we can't get involved with formal disciplinary investigations but can be involved in their instigation.)
    On the working hours, the union is right in that "changes for custom & practice" could be a change in hours. However the Government website here http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/EmploymentContractsAndConditions/DG_10028079
    seems to say that it needs to be in writing. In any case, unless you've signed an opt-out you shouldn't be working more than 48 hours per week averaged over a 17 week period. Unpaid overtime you have volunteered for doesn't count - the Govt website specifically gives the example of "staying behind to finish something off" - but your employer should still be monitoring to ensure that you don't exceed the 48 hours.

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