Tuesday 5 September 2017

Commenting on the Scottish Government's Programme for Government, outlined in the Scottish Parliament today by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said:

"The EIS welcomes the fact that the Scottish Government has placed education at the centre of its plans for the year ahead, and shares the government's aims of enhancing educational opportunities for people across Scotland and tackling the impact of poverty on education and life chances."

"This is a societal challenge that extends far beyond the school gates, and must be tackled on that basis."

Mr Flanagan added, "We have not learned much that is new in terms of specific plans for education, other than confirmation of the Scottish Government's intention to reform school governance including the formation of regional collaboratives and the potential devolution of additional responsibilities to school level."

"The EIS has already raised its concerns about the degree of focus on headteachers in these proposals, including the additional workload issue and the implications of a shift in legal responsibility for educational provision from government to individual headteachers."

"Enhancing decision making at school level can be a positive move, if this leads to an emphasis on promoting collegiate working practices and increasing resources to schools."

On the Scottish Government’s proposals for reforming teacher education, Mr Flanagan said, "While there are recruitment challenges to be overcome, the EIS has significant reservations regarding the proposals that could lead to 'fast-track' teacher training."

"Scotland holds its teachers to a very high professional standard and it is essential that we maintain this."

"The First Minister's emphasis on attracting the 'best' graduates into teaching is welcome - although it does seem to assume that this is not already happening – but the means of guaranteeing this is to enhance the professional status of teachers, take action to cut excessive workload and, crucially, a firm commitment to significantly improving teachers’ pay which has been declining in real terms over the past decade."

"We certainly welcome the First Minister’s statement on lifting the public sector pay cap and on delivering a fairer deal for teachers and other public-sector workers in the years ahead."