The EIS carried out a survey of EIS headteacher and depute headteacher (henceforth ‘headteachers’) members on aspects of the Government’s proposed bill on education. The EIS has the largest number of headteacher members of any Scottish Education trade union or Scottish professional association.

The EIS wished to seek the views of an occupational group of members that will be directly affected, if not the focus, of the Government’s proposed Education Bill (the ‘proposals’).

There were eleven questions in the online survey, and most questions had a supplementary 'Any Other Comment' section. The last question simply asked respondents if they had any further comments to make in general. The survey was carried out in November 2017 and had a good response rate with over 300 responses.

Key Findings:

  • The majority of headteachers surveyed do not support the principle of the Headteachers' Charter. The majority of headteachers surveyed believed that any headteachers charter, if introduced, should be based on best practice guidance and not grounded in legislation
  • Whilst there is significant concern over the standard and consistency of Local Authority support to headteachers and schools, 49% of surveyed headteachers were positive about LA support whilst only 15% were negative
  • A large number of surveyed headteachers stated in supplementary question responses that they have autonomy within their Local Authority. A majority of headteachers surveyed stated that the government’s proposals would not deliver increased autonomy. Many headteachers wanted more resources to use with their current autonomy, rather than increased autonomy
  • A large number headteachers responded that they were  involved in appointments and a majority (71% stated that it was important or essential to be involved in staffing decisions. The supplementary question responses also showed that a large number of the headteachers surveyed wished to maintain existing employment relationships and the use of specialist LA staff such as HR professionals
  • Most headteachers disagreed that headteachers should be the emphasis of the government's proposals on school reform. Headteachers repeatedly cited the collective nature of teaching, the team approach, with collective and distributive decision making within schools.  A clear majority of teachers supported the use of school finance committees
  • Headteachers set out their current problems and challenges, including heavy workloads, long working hours and excessive administrative duties that took time away from leading on teaching and learning. The reduction in support, resources and services available from Local Authorities was also cited as a major concern. Most headteachers surveyed believed that the government's proposals would not address these issues and may even exacerbate them
  • It is clear that most headteachers are concerned at the adverse effects of Local Government funding cuts have had on schools and pupils, and many set out that this needs to be addressed rather than focussing on the role of headteachers as proposed by the Headteachers' Charter.

Read survey analysis

Read full survey results