30th December 2013 

The EIS has today re-affirmed its belief that Comprehensive schooling offers the best model of education for Scotland and highlighted its continuing resistance to the type of education "reforms” currently being pursued south of the border.

The EIS believes that Michael Gove's drive in England and Wales to introduce so-called academies and free schools, which are out-with local authority control, runs contrary to principles of local democratic accountability and is incompatible with the notion of equal opportunity in state-funded education.

The EIS would strongly oppose any similar proposals being introduced in Scotland, and firmly believes that comprehensive education continues to provide the best and fairest model for Scotland's school system. The EIS has highlighted these principles in its submission to the Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy.

Commenting, General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The EIS remains committed to the principles of fairness and equality of opportunity that are so central to Scotland's comprehensive education system.

"There continues to be a very high level of support – from parents, teachers and others with an interest in education – for the current system that is designed to ensure that all young people, no matter what their background, have equal access to a quality educational experience that is appropriate for their own needs.

"There is no enthusiasm, within the EIS or elsewhere in the Scottish education community, for the ideologically-driven, market-orientated approach to education that is currently being promoted by Michael Gove south of the border.”

Mr Flanagan added, "Our firm belief, and that of many colleagues outwith Scotland who are currently working in that type of environment, is that this approach is damaging to the principle of a fair, equitable and properly accountable state education system.

"Already, we have seen some of Mr Gove's free schools closed down owing to serious concerns over the quality of educational experience that they were providing for pupils. We believe that this highlights serious flaws in that particular style of education policy. The EIS has recently heard that at least two education authorities in Scotland are considering piloting the Teach First style of system in their schools. We continue to oppose this type of approach, which places delivering education cheaply above guaranteeing quality education provision from a fully-qualified teacher workforce.”

In its response to the Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy, the EIS also touches on a number of other significant issues such as: the role of local authorities in the delivery of services including education, the prospect of reorganisation of services on a quasi-federal basis, the possibility of direct central government funding for schools with local accountability delivered through regional boards, the possible reorganisation of local government in Scotland, the shared-services agenda, and the tensions that can often exist between education priorities at national and local government levels.