Questions raised over burden facing head teachers

The possible threat of an additional strain being placed on head teachers has been raised in the Scottish Parliament.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has faced questions over a review of schools which proposes giving more power to individual schools.

Isles MSP Tavish Scott, who serves on the Scottish parliament’s Holyrood committee, says the workload pressure being placed on schools is “huge”.

He has raised the matter in parliament after meeting with education officials in Hayfield House. He has cited 20,000 pages of educational guidence which teachers are asked to sift through.

Mr Scott said: “The First Minister rightfully acknowledged that if headteachers are to be given more powers, this will present unique challenges to communities like Shetland.

“Across Shetland, 18 out of 29 head teachers also teach. This means extra paperwork and government guidance to wade through, on top of already demanding workloads.

“I would welcome the opportunity to discuss with the Education Secretary how the proposal to give headteachers more control over their schools will work in practice. I want to ensure that John Swinney understands the perspective of our excellent teaching staff as the government finalises its plans.”

Earlier this month education officials and elected members voiced fears that a bureaucratic burden was being placed on head teachers. They agreed to send back a more strongly-worded response to Edinburgh, amid concerns the proposals were failing to give teachers the freedom to teach.

Calls were made by the chairwoman of the SIC’s education and families committee, Vaila Wishart, for “island-proofing” measures to be adopted which should help to protect Shetland’s smaller schools.


Add Your Comment
  • David Spence

    • December 22nd, 2016 23:52

    ‘ First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has faced questions over a review of schools which proposes giving more power to individual schools. ‘

    I sincerely hope Nicola is not making any reference to the ‘ private sector ‘ in the above statement.

    Every time I hear a Conservative MP uttering the words ‘ Giving people more power or greater choice ‘ I anticipate this as a comment towards privatisation, and nothing else. Time and time again, you hear the Conservative MP’s always going on about giving people more say, choice, power, rights or options when it comes to challenging state against the private markets.

    It is very obvious where this Government stands in regards to giving people so-called choice when in reality they really mean ‘ How can I benefit from this and make a lot of money for myself ‘.

    When it comes to education, we would be taking 1 step forward but 2 steps back when you put greed and profiteering ahead in our basic education standards.

    Why would a Conservative Government model our education system from a country where we, in Britain, are ahead in many of the subjects taught within our schools compared to this country.

  • ian_tinkler

    • December 23rd, 2016 12:18

    Now just a reminder, as soon as the SNP/SG can overcome its own contempt for human rights law (Named Person, Supreme Court Judgement), our headteachers will have the extra burden of policing parents ability to raise their children. Extraordinary is it not that our divisive SNP, whom so criticise Westminster for human Rights abuse, should be found so wanting in their “State Snooper Dictats”. Is this sheer incompetence, stupid or both together, nice one “Nippy”.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.