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A principal teacher (PT), in Scotland is a promoted post that usually refers to being head of a particular department within a secondary school, in charge of running the department and ensuring it is performing to school standard, but can also refer to a 'guidance' position with responsibility for the pastoral care of a cohort of pupils. Increasingly, principal teacher posts are being introduced into schools where they involve specific management responsibilities in a school (e.g. assessment, ICT).
Recently, most local authorities have been following a policy of reducing the number of principal teachers in secondary schools by combining departments and having PT's titled 'curriculum leaders' or 'faculty heads', who essentially carry out the same responsibilities but over more than one department. For example, History, Geography and Modern Studies are all separate departments and may have their own Principal Teacher however in a Curriculum Leader system these three departments would form the Social Sciences Faculty, headed by one person. Since principal teachers are paid on an 8 point scale depending on the size of the management responsibilities, Faculty PTs may earn more than an individual departmental PT did before, but the move towards faculties will save the local authorities money in salary costs.
Scottish teachings unions have expressed concern that the drive towards replacing groups of departmental Principal Teachers with fewer Faculty Principal Teachers is being driven by the desire to cut costs rather than about improving the management of secondary schools.
An average will have a Head teacher, one to six Deputy/Deputy head teachers, one to ten Pastoral principal teachers(guidance staff), and one Principal teacher for each subject area (i.e. Maths, English, Modern Languages, Physics etc.).
Principal teachers in Primary Schools in Scotland refer to a classroom teacher who also takes on some managerial role within the school. They usually work part-time in class with time out for development and managerial duties. Principal teachers tend to work under both head teachers and Depute heads.
- Aberdeenshire Council: Arrangements for piloting alternative management structures in secondary schools 2002
- Kids v cash SSTA press release, October 20th, 2003
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