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Conditions of Service in Scotland


Links below lead to the appropriate section of the page

Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT)

The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) (new window) is a negotiating framework for teachers’ pay and conditions of service. It is a tripartite body comprising members from teaching organisations, Local Authorities, and the Scottish Government.

SNCT Handbook of Conditions of Service

The SNCT Handbook (new window) contains the nationally negotiated terms and conditions of service for teachers working in local authority schools in Scotland. The SNCT handbook took effect from 1st August 2007. Prior to the handbook there was the ‘Yellow Book’ (Scheme of Salaries and Conditions of Service agreed by the Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee) which over the years was amended by the National Agreement: A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century (new window), commonly known as the McCrone Agreement. Details of the McCrone Agreement can be found below.

Conditions of service are agreed:

  • At national level by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT);
  • At local authority level by the local Negotiaing Committee for Teachers (LNCT);
  • At school level but only for certain aspects of the 35-hour working week - by the in school negotiating group (ISNG).

The SNCT Handbook (new window) includes sections on the following:

  • Pay;
  • Main Duties;
  • Working Year and Working Week;
  • Class Size;
  • Annual Leave;
  • Sickness Allowances and Notification Arrangements;
  • Family Leave; and
  • Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

Performance Management

Unlike England, where there is a 'Performance Management' agreement, there is no agreed procedure for teacher appraisal in Scotland. Each individual school and authority will of course have an agreed monitoring procedure (discussed and agreed at school or LNCT level). It is also standard practice for schools to make reference to the Quality Indicators in How good is our school (new window) (HGIOS).

A head teacher is entitled to observe classroom practice throughout the year. If a member feels they are being targeted for an excessive number of observations they should contact the local office as it may be necessary to utilise the local authority’s bullying and harassment procedure. Alternatively this may be forewarning that the school has concern’s regarding their competency and similarly contact should be made with the local office.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (new window) (GTCS) Code of Competency is in Appendix 2.12 of Part 2 of the SNCT Handbook (new window). This code provides the definition of competence which is used for the Standard for Full Registration and also sets out the process for dealing with short lived under performance and long running under performance. This code is not intended as a stick to beat fully qualified teachers with, rather it is intended to provide a base line which can be used for professional review and development.

Family Friendly Rights

The main source of maternity information for local authority teachers is Section 7 of Part 2 of the SNCT Handbook (new window), including length of service qualifications and maternity pay. 

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) provides minimum rights and individual employers are at liberty to give more should they wish. An employee should check their contract and the staff handbook in their school to see whether the school provide greater than the statutory minimum.

The NASUWT produces guidance for members with children on the provisions for Maternity, paternity and parental leave and pay. The guidance also contains information on rights to time off for family and domestic reasons.

Advice on the legal requirements is assessing risks in relation to new and expectant mothers’ job activities is set out in the Health and Safety Executive booklet New and Expectant Mothers at Work (new window).

Members have the right to apply to work flexibly where they have:

  • children aged under 17;
  • disabled children aged under 18; or
  • carer responsibilities. 

The NASUWT has produced guidance on requesting Flexible working.

Each Local Authority will have a job share policy agreed with the local Negotiating Committee for Teachers (LNCT) which regulates the application process, as well as what happens when one job sharer leaves or wants to become full time.

Any Salary Sacrifice arrangements or other Family Friendly policies will be contained within a local agreement. Details of how an LNCT committee should operate are contained in the SNCT Handbook (new window). There is a standard Salary Sacrifice Form on which employees can apply or express an interest.

Temporary workers and supply teachers

The Code of Practice on the Use of Temporary Contracts is set out in Appendix 2.8 of Part 2 of the SNCT Handbook (new window).

Transfer of temporary teachers to permanent staff has, under the new SNCT Handbook, been devolved to local level. The national position as it used to be is set out in Part 4 of the new handbook section 8.5 (new window).

Most Local Authorities will have their own policy agreed via the local Negotiating Committee for Teachers (LNCT), for example one authority allows temporary staff to apply after two years and provided their school reports are satisfactory they will be given a 0.7 permanent contract.

If there is no local agreement then an employee will nevertheless after one year have gained unfair dismissal rights. If they remain on an annually renewable temporary contract for 4 years this automatically becomes a permanent contract under law.

The NASUWT also provides advice on the rights of Supply Teachers and Teachers working for employment agencies.

Any teacher taking on a temporary or ‘fixed-term’ contract should contact the Scotland National Centre

The McCrone Agreement

In January 2000 the Scottish Parliament established a Committee of Inquiry into teachers’ pay, promotion structures and conditions of service. It was chaired by Professor Gavin McCrone CB.

The NASUWT provided detailed written and oral evidence to the Inquiry.

In August 2000 an Implementation Group was set up comprising representatives of Government, employers and teacher unions, to take forward the McCrone recommendations. The NASUWT was represented on the Group and associated working parties and participated fully in negotiating the Agreement which was finally reached.

The National Agreement: A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century (new window) was introduced in August 2001, although some aspects were phased in. Full implementation was completed in August 2006. The SNCT Handbook (new window) contains the nationally negotiated terms and conditions of service for teachers working in local authority schools in Scotland. The SNCT handbook took effect from 1st August 2007.

The NASUWT has produced advice and information concerning the agreement in the Union’s publication McCrone Agreement in Scotland - Information to Members.

Further Education Colleges

Further Education Colleges do not have nationally agreed pay or terms and conditions of employment. Each establishment agrees their own and do not come under remit of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (new window) (SNCT).

Further information or assistance

Members needing further information or assistance should contact your Local Association Secretary or the Scotland National Centre.