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Faculties v Departments

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by Freddie92, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Freddie92

    Freddie92 Occasional commenter

    Is it time to revert back to subjects?

    Have Faculties been a success? They have certainly saved money, but at what cost?

    Also I heard that there cannot be more the EIGHT faculties in anyone school. Is this true?
  2. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Have they saved that much? I don't think so.

    Take sciences for instance where you used to have 2 or 3 discrete subject PTs possibly on a low PT scale point (2 or 3 perhaps). This has been replaced by a super PT who might by scale point 7 or 8.

    PTs were removed in secondaries so primaries could get them - so I doubt if there has been massive savings across an authority.

    And if you factor in illness and sickness rates from overworked teachers doing a PT job for no money then the net effect might be pretty negligible.

    If it was down to me I'd bring in a social worker or school nurse two, get rid of Pastoral Care/Guidance/whatever it's called these days and put the savings into subject PTs - even at scale point 1 or 2 (the old APT role). You don't need to give a social worker non contact time - there's a saving straight away - and they probably know what they're taking about compared to a 26 year old drillie.

    I've never understood why you need to be promoted to wipe the slevvers off a wean. You don't deal with budgets, don't manage staff, yet get a nice salary for being on the phone all day.

    Think this is devolved to your local JNCT. We have far more than 8, but we still have (thankfully) discrete subject PTs.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  3. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    so if you pay someone a bit more does that stop them being ill?

    You clearly have no understanding of the role of a guidance teacher and it is rude and showing a lack of maturity to right the crass statements that you have.
    teachaaaaaa likes this.
  4. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    It might also show a lack of maturity in not being able to spell.
  5. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    For the record, they don't actually teach very much. Apart from PSE, which is a pile of dung at best.

    Lack of maturity?? That would be similar to the hoardes of 20 somethings doing the "job" across the country.

    When I think of all the great PTs who lost their posts after McCrone, to ensure that Guidance posts were kept and embellished (and in some schools it's 40-50% of PT posts), we've been sold an absolute pup.

    Teachers should teach, social workers should do all the other home link stuff, careers officers should do workplace links and nurses should deal with health concerns. They're appropriately qualified and better at it. PTGs are not. There's nothing crass in that whatsoever.
  6. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    For the record the they do teach a lot. Pt guidance in my school are all teaching higher and Nat5. They teach 20 periods a week. They work lunch and after school and they all have qualifications in guidance.

    Yes schools should have nurses, careers, social work and community police in school. They should also have money for books, photo coping, up to date tech. Full staffed departments. They don’t.

    The guidance teachers I have worked with bring a lot more to the school than most PT curriculum that I have seen and they work bl00dy hard for their money.
  7. Gavster77

    Gavster77 Occasional commenter

    … pleased for you but your experience of guidance/PSE teachers is, it saddens me to say, a very rare one, subman68.

    Faculties, in the main, became jobs for the boys. this created its own problems with Faculty Heads having to delegate more but devolving less management time and where despotism hasn't reigned, incompetence has.

    I've experienced one excellent Faculty Head of PE and Home Economics who learned the ropes of the subjects they led and it did really well.
  8. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    I would echo that Gav

    Two thirds of our PTGs (out of 6) are about as much use as a chocolate teapot. They actually generate more work.
  9. partickz

    partickz New commenter

    My subject (2 to 3 staff) was joined with a huge department to form a faculty. It only worked for the few years we still had the conserved PT. Then chaos. Young staff getting pressured by the Faculty Head to do stuff, FH melting down, staff leaving, total lack of communication.

    As a PT Pupil Support, I feel I need to say a thing or two about this thread. I have always taught my subject to Higher Level, I have a caseload of 200ish pupils and do not feel I do any social work/health care stuff etc. Although I do work with parents and any appropriate agency to get the best education outcomes for the pupil. That is definitely the role of a teacher and some of us need some extra time (5 extra non contacts) to do this.
  10. teachaaaaaa

    teachaaaaaa New commenter

    I am a PT pastoral. I find what you say about is to be highly offensive to be honest. I only have a very small subject teaching commitment (and I shouldn’t have this as our authority works on the pastoral only system.) I have a caseload of over 200 children many of whom have significant social and emotional needs or health problems which need coordination and day to day monitoring. I have to collate, monitor and undertake interventions around poor behaviour, poor attendance, emotional well-being as well as having whole school remits directly related to QIs. I am rarely out of school before 6pm most days. I also work all break and lunchtime duties as curricular staff in my particular setting need a break and we try to make sure they get one at break and lunch. I am also expected to attend most school events in evening. (I get it’s not a have to but there is clear expectation). Add to that the day to day crises children from chaotic homes, multiple referrals to agencies to help the kids get help they need and working to repair relationships between pupils and curricular staff, I think I more than deserve my PT3 pay. Oh did I mention I also teach PSE 13 periods a week (which is not the **** some of you may envisage; it is now in our school at least tied to benchmarks, outcomes and SQA units) so maybe you should spend a day shadowing your pastoral colleagues if possible. Your perception may be changed. I want to work together but even where I work a small number of curricular staff, promoted or main scale, seem to think we have a nice wee job sitting in the office all day. I wish! Oh and PS I am mid 30s and the youngest of my team. We are all from different subject backgrounds. (HOME EC/English/social subjects) not a pe teacher in sight.
  11. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    I'm not disputing that you care for the kids in your caseload. The point I made earlier is that we all trained as teachers and this work is not teaching. In my opinion the work you are doing should be done by attendance officers, social workers and other professionals who should support the teaching staff and be able to focus on this for all of the working week. PTGs with a teaching commitment are spinning plates all over the place. It's an incredibly inefficient function of schools.

    Please don't complain about workload and not being out before 6pm when you quote this stuff. You don't get paid for this.
  12. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    I think that nothing anyone has said on here wrt Pastoral Care is offensive. At the very worst they might just be wrong, and some statements will be sweeping generalisations.

    You say you only have a very small teaching commitment (and you claim you shouldn't have this because of council policy, that's absurd): your job title is "teacher" and that's all you should be doing.

    Your caseload will be no different from almost every other Principal Teacher Pastoral Care in the entire country: what gives you the right to deal with the social and emotional and health problems of anyone else never mind a large number of young people?

    Standard teachers also need to collate and monitor and deal with issues surrounding poor behaviour and poor attendance, virtually always to the detriment of the core job function - teaching.

    I can't speak for anyone else but I often did a couple of hours' work at home at night and at weekends. In retrospect I shouldn't have done this, it's unpaid for a start and it becomes the accepted norm. In a previous job I had a boss who castigated staff for "staying late", claiming there was either a job-sizing problem or they just wanted their "commitment" to be noticed by management or the late-stayers were incompetent because they couldn't do the job in normal hours.

    It is your choice to work through intervals and lunchtimes: no-one is forcing you and, as I mentioned previously, it becomes expected of you and you're not paid for it. The expectation of working evenings is just plain wrong.

    Standard teachers see the effects of children from chaotic homes and all Pastoral Care and SLT seem to do is take them away - witness the pupils outside Pastoral Care and SLT on a daily basis. And it's always the same pupils, isn't it? Nothing is solved, only the symptoms are "dealt with". Hardly an effective system.

    How does Pastoral Care know which of the "multiple agencies" to deal with? Unless it's blindingly obvious. And, again, I can only speak for myself, but the only "relationship" I want with the vast majority of my pupils is "I teach; you learn" kinda relationship. Again (again) unless there is an overwhelming reason to get involved, pupil-pupil relationships? Are Principal Teacher Pastoral Care teachers some sort of relationship counsellors? Sorry, I don't think so.

    Are you complaining about your subject teaching and PSE teaching commitment? A teacher complaining about teaching? That's like a plumber complaining about getting their hands a bit wet occasionally! The subject "PSE" is another matter altogether so I'll refrain from comment here.

    The overwhelming majority of Principal Teacher Pastoral Care jobs are carried out by PE. That may not be the case in your school but it is over the country.

    I don't see anything you've written of your Principal Teacher Pastoral Care role (1) that involves teaching abilities, (2) that exemplifies the title "teacher", (3) that justifies the prefix "Principal Teacher", (4) that justifies the salary. You are doing a job, my friend, for which you are not even remotely professionally-qualified. Let's get the real professionals in to deal with societal problems as expertly as they can and we can all concentrate on, err, teaching.

    It would be interesting to see how many Principal Teacher Pastoral Care people would apply for the job were it not for the salary.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
    Effinbankers likes this.
  13. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    'PTs were removed in secondaries so primaries could get them...'

    I've heard this claim a number of times and it always leaves me puzzled. If it was true, it should show up in the average 'cost per pupil' statistics, in primary and secondary schools, over the period when faculties were introduced. I've looked up the relevant figures, from a variety of sources, and they are as follows:

    2000-01 Average cost per pupil - Primary £2,451, Secondary £3,598, Difference £1,147
    https://www.gla.ac.uk/media/Media_133107_smxx.pdf (P2, Table 1)
    2007-08 Average cost per pupil - Primary £4,638, Secondary £6,326, Difference £1,688
    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/sp/?id=2016-03-16.13.0 (Angela Constance)
    2014 -15 Average cost per pupil - Primary £4,814, Secondary £6,790, Difference £1,976
    2016-17 Average cost per pupil - Primary £4,788, Secondary £6,806, Difference £2,018

    Even though staffing costs make up the largest part of the education budget, there is no evidence that money was taken from the PT secondary budget and given to primary schools to fund PTs.

    Of course, it could be argued that not all LAs have introduced the faculty system to the same extent. Edinburgh, however, is one council that made an offer of an early retirement package to a large number of its PTs and most of them, unsurprisingly, jumped at it. So, what do the Edinburgh Council figures show in the Scotsman link above?
    Edinburgh Council
    2016-17 Average cost per pupil -Primary £4,105, Secondary £6,252, Difference £2,147

    So once again, the gap in the average cost per pupil between primary and secondary schools increased, rather than narrowed, over the period when faculties were introduced.

    The real reason, I would suggest, for introducing the faculty system was to flatten the management structure in secondary schools and reduce the relative independence of subject departments. In that way, the argument goes, the 'just-do-it' approach to line management was strengthened, easing the way for ill-thought out curricular changes.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  14. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    What is for definite is that primary schools have PTs that they never used before the turn of the century while secondary schools have undoubtedly lost them. And they need paid!

    Staffing costs wouldn't give a true picture. Some may spend more on IT and other resources in education, some will have to spend more on school transport, some have more QIOs etc. Some may have cut teaching staff overall. But I doubt there will be a ready made excel file showing us all this data. Otherwise we'd have seen it.


    Especially if you put lickspittle Faculty Heads in place (OK - they're not all like that, but some definitely are) to force through the will of SMT, with regards to curricular and school timetable changes. I've always thought that with discrete departments sticking up for subjects you get more dissent and it's less easy to force through changes. With 8 Faculty Heads or so, many who have their eye on a DHT role, they are in many cases just an extended branch of senior school management and will simply do what their telt. Sadly the role of the managerial subject specialist, constantly fighting for what is best for their subject, has largely gone to be replaced by corporate middle leadership sheep
    markbannan, sicilypat and bigjimmy2 like this.
  15. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Yes, before the turn of the century, there were no PT posts in primary schools. Most primaries were either small, or very small, with a management team of one - the HT. Indeed, in rural areas, some primary HTs had to manage two, or three, separate schools.

    Compare that to the management structure within secondary schools, pre-McCrone, which could include: HT - DHT - AHTs - PTs - STs - APTs - Assistant Teachers (a strange term, if ever there was one).

    With LAs requiring primary HTs to attend an increasing number of management meetings during the school day, concerns were often raised about who, exactly, was managing the primary school in the absence of the HT? Not every primary had the luxury of an AHT or, later, DHT and Senior Teacher posts were specifically created for those who did not wish to move into a management post.

    In the absence of the HT, it was not uncommon for LAs to suggest the HT delegate a class teacher, or Senior Teacher, 'to hold the fort' or 'be a point of contact'. They were careful to avoid using any term which implied the said teacher was 'managing' the school because, of course, they were not being paid for any management role. That situation was unsustainable and could have had serious consequences in the event of an accident, or emergency, within the school.

    With the introduction of PT posts in primaries, most schools had, at least, one other teacher with a management remit who could be in charge of a school in the absence of the HT. In practice, it was not unusual for Senior Teachers to apply for PT posts in primary schools as their existing posts would be eventually phased out. That, at least in part, offset the cost of PTs in primary schools.

    As for LAs having different priorities, and deciding to allocate funds in different ways, that is certainly the case. One only has to look at the average cost per pupil, across different LAs, to see there are wide variations.
    Effinbankers and bigjimmy2 like this.
  16. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    Interesting that the same person who implies guidance teachers are kids' nose wipers also thinks we need nurses and social workers to do it instead.
  17. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Do you think it's the job of any teacher, let alone a Principal Teacher, to do it?

    I don't.

    If we are going to have as many children in our schools with additional support needs, let's get people who know what they are doing in to help them, not somebody who has been on a one day training course and considers themselves an expert.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  18. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Sorry, halfajack, but those references are just a way of summarising well-known feelings towards Principal Teachers of Pastoral Care, rightly or wrongly. Blunt and scathing, sure, but they get the point across.
  19. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    This argument is increasingly reminding me of the advert (Digby Brown?) where the commentary says you wouldn't get a nurse to cut you out of a crashed car or a fireman to examine your X-rays.

    Surely a Social Worker, trained to at least degree standard in that subject and experienced enough to have a better idea of what to do, is much better placed than a teacher to deal with let's say pupils' "family" problems?

    By precisely the same token, surely a health professional, a nurse, say, is much better placed than a teacher to deal with pupils' health problems?

    I've been on courses over the years, in and out of teaching, but I'd never consider myself an expert in some of the the topics I've trained in.


    It surprises me sometimes that the school librarian function is not carried out by a teacher. Not my main gripe against Pastoral Care, but librarian ain't a promoted post, is it?
    Marisha likes this.

    LINGUIST2 New commenter

    I am a one person department in a Faculty with 4 other teachers. My subject is totally different from the rest of the Faculty. I have to do everything myself , promote it , make up all my resources , teach everyone in the school no help from my PT( who has only been teaching a few years and knows nothing about my subject , doesn't even show interest) or SMT who don't place any value at all on my subject in fact the teacher before me left due to total lack of support. I honestly feel like I exist in a vacuum in my school ! It can be hard when no one else has the same outlook as you . It can be demoralising when ideas you have get dismissed or there is no money for textbooks . I have been teaching a while so get by and luckily I get support / advice from colleagues I know in other schools - I am in a GLOW subject group in my Authority and tap into resources on a couple of Facebook group pages .
    sicilypat likes this.

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