What are we paying this guy for?

Well down the page: ‘Jim Thewliss, from teachers’ group School Leaders Scotland says schools did not know the change was coming until it was announced at Holyrood last week and that it had been an enormous logistical task.’

School Leaders Scotland is a pressure group representing head teachers. Mr Thewliss seems remarkably insensitive to the challenges of dealing with a pandemic. The Scottish Government could not make this decision until they saw the data on infection level drops. Schools have two full weeks to plan a small scale return for only some of their pupils as part of phased induction, entirely normal in any organisation that cares about its customers.

The reaction of Thewliss strikes me as just irritable reluctance to do the job is he is well-paid to do. Why can’t he do what so many others are doing to make things work?

Then the claim:

This is counterproductive in relation to the systems we have set up for remote learning and engaging people in their remote learning. This destroys a great deal of that and distracts school leadership teams from doing that to put a cobbled-together process in place for two weeks.

You will be hard-pushed to find anyone within my professional association, even any teacher in Scotland, who thinks this is a good idea.

What’s his evidence? All we have here is one-man’s negativity.

Mind you I can see why he must struggle to do his day job:

Jim Thewliss

General Secretary, represents SLS on:

  1. ASCL
  2. Scottish Education Council
  3. Strategic Board on Teacher Education
  5. National Improvement Framework Professional Associations Group
  6. SCEL Stakeholder Forum
  7. SCEL Excellence in Headship
  8. COSLA Education Policy Sounding Board
  9. Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group
  10. Head Teacher Recruitment Working Group
  11. Developing the Young Workforce Chair/Manager meeting
  12. Scottish Learning Festival Planning Group
  13. Education Scotland External Reference Group
  14. Career Pathways National Steering Group
  15. LGBT Inclusive Education Group
  16. Commission on Widening Access Implementation Group
  17. Access Delivery Group
  18. GTCS Professional Review and Development Group
  19. Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT)
  20. School Library Strategy Group
  21. 15 – 24 Learner Journey Group

8 thoughts on “What are we paying this guy for?

  1. SLS? it makes no sense. What authority do head teachers have to call themselves ‘school leaders Scotland’? It’s a very woolly term. What is their remit.
    That list is very long, he represents them all? Maybe he has bitten off more than he can chew. With such a big portfolio, maybe he is spreading himself a bit thin. Never a good idea.


  2. I strongly suggest his CV dispatched to Boris the Terrible
    With a strong recommendation that he be appointed to the military post of Joint Chief of Staff
    Thereby all the Armed forces can fully prepare for the next Illegal War where no doubt many spoils and riches can be found
    But more importantly the ability to leave a fine mess behind


  3. When the school leaders have one of these (or eqivalent) installed in every classroom in Scotland, I’ll start to give their views some respect.
    These only cost a few thousand. If I was a head teacher I buy some myself for the school.

    Very easily business cased based on greater utility of teacher resource. You don’t need 10 new maths teachers when one can deliver the class session across 10 (or a thousand) classes.


    We need a 21st century model for education based on high tech.


  4. He is a busy body
    Nobody can be involved usefully in so many positions at once
    This story from him will be typical of his approach with all he is involved in
    Reject criticise but never come up with better solutions thats his game
    Seen people like this throughout life
    Theyre all the same
    Spout criticism with no expertise in pandemic logistics , fool


  5. I note the strongly negative reaction here to one individual’s comments. However, for context and balance, its relevant I think to note that the EIS is taking a similarly negative view regarding the return of secondary pupils part-time before Easter – and seemingly not that positive about return of S1-S3 pupils full-time after Easter.


    The Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) is more measured in its reaction on the issue of pre-Easter return but still not very positive. From its website:

    “The First Minister’s statement has created serious operational problems for schools by trying to accommodate all pupils at some point during the weeks preceding the Easter break.

    “The SSTA had been expecting an increase in senior pupils before Easter should there be progress on suppressing the virus. …”

    It adds: “The arrangements for pupil return and managing parental expectations has been left to the schools. This will only add to the pressure on teachers trying to meet pupil needs and ensure good parental communication.”

    Note that Mr Thewliss claims ” schools did not know the change was coming” whilst the SSTA “had been expecting an increase in senior pupils before Easter”!

    Whatever one’s view of the matter – as in many such things there will be trade-offs – Mr Thewliss is not a lone voice expressing concern. Unfortunately, we don’t seem able to find out what discussion if any on this matter took place within the SG’s Education Recovery Group. Both Mr Thewliss and the General Secretary of the EIS are members of this Group.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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