Teachers back industrial action on workload in SSTA ballot

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A majority of teachers taking part in a ballot about their workload have said they would back industrial action on the issue.

The indicative ballot of its 8,000 members by the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) found 91% supported action short of a strike.

A majority, 64%, said they would take strike action if necessary.

Education Secretary John Swinney has said he will reduce teacher workload to improve attainment in schools.

The union said concerns about workload reflected the introduction of new school qualifications.

SSTA general secretary Seamus Searson said: "The ballot clearly shows that members are unhappy with the current proposals."

'Over-bureaucratic arrangements'

Other findings from the ballot included:

  • A Scottish government initiative - the Tackling Bureaucracy Report, March 2015 - had failed to reduce teachers' workload in 96% of schools.
  • A total of 96% of respondents lacked confidence in proposed Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) measures to reduce workload in the 2016-17 session.
  • Regarding future workload, 94% of respondents said they lacked confidence in the SQA's plans.

Mr Searson added: "Teachers have insufficient time to carry out the over-bureaucratic arrangements set out by the SQA.

"The SSTA is requesting that the new cabinet secretary John Swinney, together with local authorities as the employers of teachers, take control of the situation and impose limits on teacher time being spent on such activities that are taking teachers away from teaching and learning."

The education secretary has spoken about his concerns over teacher workload.

Addressing MSPs shortly after his appointment, Mr Swinney said: "Closing the attainment gap and improving attainment across education in Scotland - in other words the pursuit of equity and excellence - will be the driving purpose of my tenure as education secretary.

"One of the significant concerns I have heard is about teacher workload as a consequence of change within the education system.

"I am going to act today to reduce that workload as my first step to improving the performance of Scotland's schools."

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