Wednesday 20 September 2017

The EIS has welcomed comments made by the Deputy First Minister on the continuing need for initiatives to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap, and for action to reduce excessive teacher workload and improve teachers' pay.

The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, made the comments today in his keynote address to the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The EIS welcomes the Scottish Government’s continuing focus on tackling poverty and its impact on the learning experience of many young people across Scotland."

"As was acknowledged in the Deputy First Minister's speech today, this is a complex issue for society that must be addressed through a coordinated approach between education and other sectors such as social and health services."

"Additional targeted investment in schools and in learning resources is certainly an important aspect of tackling the issues associated with poverty and levels of attainment."

Mr Flanagan added, "We also welcome the recognition from the Deputy First Minister today that steps must be taken to improve teachers’ pay, following a decade-long decline in salaries, and that further action is needed to reduce the excessive and crippling workload burden that is being placed on teachers."

"The EIS is continuing in discussions with the Scottish Government and local authorities on a pay settlement for this year."

"We are very clear that, in order for teaching to be an attractive career option for highly qualified graduates, salaries must be significantly enhanced in the future to bring them in line with other graduate professions."

"It is also essential that the valuable contributions of long-serving class teachers are recognised with improved pay and through better and wider opportunities for career progression."

"The lifting of the public sector pay cap, from next year, will be an important step in enabling better and fairer salaries for teachers."

On workload, Mr Flanagan added, "Recent studies have confirmed the very high levels of workload pressure and work-related stress that are being placed on teachers in Scotland."

"While the Scottish Government has taken some steps to address this issue, more action is needed to reduce the strain on teachers and to ensure that the focus is on supporting learning rather than on excessive administration and bureaucracy."