DOZENS of school department heads have been demoted to classroom teachers – but will still receive salaries of up to £48,000.
East Lothian Council has told 23 principal teachers they are returning to classroom duties as part of a cost-cutting move.
But the teachers will continue to receive their department head pay for at least three years.
Classroom teachers at the top of the pay scale receive around £30,000, meaning the “cost-cutting” policy could set the council’s finances back over £1.2m.
Teaching union bosses say it is “ironic” that the demotions will not lead to any budget savings.
SNP councillor Peter MacKenzie, East Lothian’s education convener, said the restructuring would be handed “sensitively”
But Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, said the move would bring staff morale to an “all-time low”.
A spokesperson for EIS, said: “This was hardly done ‘sensitively’ as claimed by councillor Mackenzie.
“As a result of the process, staff morale has been at its lowest at a time when teachers are preparing students for exams. Advice from us on the timing of this process was ignored.
“Teaching members in schools are far from happy at the outcome.
“It does not bode well for the improvement in the delivery of education in our secondary schools, and ironically, will not lead to the budget savings which were supposed to be its raison d’etre.”
There are approximately 130 principal teachers working at East Lothian’s six secondary schools.
Councillor MacKenzie said the overall programme for education would lead to “considerable savings”.
He added: “The trade unions have been involved with us in talks all along and frankly it’s surprising at this stage to heart that they are in any way surprised at the outcome.”
An East Lothian council spokesman said: “We must emphasise that the council was not working in isolation, but to a national job-size mechanism agreed with all the teaching unions. After this process was completed not a single PT was made redundant.”