Teaching concerns at Queensferry secondary school

Raymond Simpson, principal teacher of computing at Queensferry High School
Raymond Simpson, principal teacher of computing at Queensferry High School

CONCERNS have been raised over teaching at Queensferry High School after the city council voted to go ahead with its secondary schools management restructuring process.

The decision, taken last Wednesday, will see many principal teachers across secondary schools in Edinburgh replaced by a lower number of ‘curriculum leaders’, who will lead faculty based groups in schools.

In a bid to save the council £2.4 million, the amount of principal teacher posts across schools in the city has been reduced by 159 while 15 deputy head teacher posts have also been cut.

At Queensferry High School it is anticipated that up to 10 principal teachers will be downgraded with others probably having to move to other schools.

Raymond Simpson, principal teacher of computing at Queensferry, and a teacher representative on the city council’s education committee, said: “The situation is quite serious for teachers and teaching at the school. With 10 teachers set to be downgraded, the impact is more severe at Queensferry than the majority of schools in Edinburgh.”

He added: “The decision to restructure will see subjects such as PE and Home Economics managed by one principal teacher instead of two. How does a curriculum leader manage when they have no affinity to that other subject? The same goes for subjects such as geography, history and modern studies, which will now combined into social subjects.”

The Edinburgh association of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has also voiced concerns on the impact management re-structuring will have on the learning and teaching of pupils at the same time when Curriculum for Excellence is bringing in the widest possible changes to how teaching and learning is delivered.

It claims there is also no evidence to show that re-structure will improve attainment in schools and while the Curriculum for Excellence requires specialised leaders, the loss of experienced subject expertise will impact on learning and teaching.

The city council’s education leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren said: “I am assured from other councils that there will be no adverse impact on learning as a result of these changes. At present the number of management posts is the same whether a school has 250 or 1400 pupils and, in some cases, there are principal teachers who have no staff to manage.”

The council state there will be no compulsory redundancies and any current PT’s who lose their role will retain their current salary for three to five years and then move to teacher scale.