I consider myself fortunate to live in Scotland and work in the Scottish education system. We have a very grown up contract implemented in 2002 called A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century (aka McCrone.) It brought far reaching changes to the teaching profession in Scotland.
One of these conditions is that of working at a time and place of our choosing. To quote Part 2 Section 3 paragraph 7 of the SNCT Handbook of Conditions of Service:
3.7 All tasks which do not require the teacher to be on the school premises can be carried out at a time and place of the teacher’s choosing: teachers will notify the appropriate manager of their intention in this respect.
In effect this means that if we have a free period at the end of a day for example and are not needed for cover or a meeting etc we are not obliged to be on the premises. In other words we are to be trusted to do what we have to do, but can do it at a time and place which is most convenient. (This was not the case when I worked in Barnsley.)
Today, though, has seen some difficult to comprehend decisions being taken on high. Tomorrow the janitors, technicians, cleaners etc in TGWU, Unite and Unison are taking industrial action. This means that the school keyholders and integral members of the fire evacuation team (janitors are not on site) thus creating a health and safety risk. Thus school is not open for pupils. However Headies have been told in no uncertain terms that schools will be open and that teaching staff WILL be present. This leads to the situation that a colleague who has non-contact time from lunchtime on a Wednesday could, under normal circumstances when kids are in, request to work at a time and place of his choosing for the rest of the day. Tomorrow he cannot, even though there are no kids present because he risks disciplinary action.
Colleagues are being forced to travel 40+miles to get to school when they could quite easily carry out tasks at home, really environmentally friendly
The one and only reason I think of for this decision to deny our contractual rights is one of public image. The authority wants to be able to say that after having 6 weeks off we are making sure that teachers are working (or at least in the workplace.) I personally have a stack load of stuff I could do at home such as finishing off the plans for our Connecting Classrooms partnership or rerecording some podcasts.
Maybe you think this me just being arsey and that I should live in the real world but what is the point in having a very decent conditions of service document if our leaders think they can just take unilateral decisions because they perhaps don't like a particular part.
So I shall be going into work tomorrow, under protest, and I shall have to find some other way to support my fellows trade unionists.