Once members successfully complete the full Learning Rep course they are formally accredited by the EIS and receive a certificate of accreditation.
A letter is sent to the local authority/college/higher education institution advising that the new Learning Rep has been trained and accredited by the EIS with a request that discussions begin regarding time off for the LR to undertake their role.
Time off is important if a Learning Rep (LR) is going to be able to carry out his/her role effectively.
Time off arrangements agreed for Learning Reps vary but it is important that the time off allocation granted is suitable both to the Learning Rep and the school/college/higher education institution where they work.
The EIS has managed to negotiate Learning Agreements with several local authorities and further education colleges – these agreements not only set out time off, but also the arrangements on how the employer and the union will work together on the CPD/Professional Learning agenda.
Copies of the model learning agreement to be negotiated with local authorities and the for further education colleges are included in this handbook, along with an example of a good learning agreement negotiated with Glasgow City Council which has been negotiated and is operational.
All Local Association Secretaries and branch representatives have copies of the model learning agreements to assist them in taking forward learning agreements at local level.
A copy of the final SULF 7 Report which gives details about learning agreements is included in this handbook.
As well as time-off being negotiated, efforts will be made to secure facilities for Learning Reps such as a desk, computer and telephone to assist them in carrying out the role.
It can be useful for new Learning Reps to formulate an Action Plan of activities they wish to undertake over a period of time of three months, six months, nine months or a year.
This enables them to evaluate how much progress is being made. Keeping a log on actual work undertaken is also useful as a guide to the amount of time actually spent on the role.
If there is already a Learning Rep active within the local authority area or further education college/higher education institution then the new LR must work closely with the other Learning Rep(s) to ensure that they are providing a comprehensive, cohesive service to members and avoiding duplication of work.
All Learning Reps will have different strengths. If there is more than one LR it is good practice that they decide which aspects of the work each wishes to cover whilst ensuring that the main role of a Learning Rep is covered. It is also important that the LRs work with their Local Association/Branch to ensure that they are meeting any local CPD/Professional Learning aims.
Guidance is given on how to develop the role but it is important that Learning Reps have the ability to develop and adapt the role for their particular area/institution – we have never wanted to be too prescriptive, as long as Learning Reps meet the "Standards for EIS Learning Reps" and the "Learning Rep Protocol" (copies of both are included in the Handbook) then they have the leeway to adapt the role as they see fit.
One way of getting started in the role is to discuss this with a current Learning Rep who has gone through a similar process.
Each student Learning Rep is allocated a mentor throughout their course and this is a good person to discuss this matter with.
New LRs can also speak to other Learning Reps within their area or sector either on an individual basis or as a member of the national Learning Rep Forum.
The forum is an excellent facility for all Learning Reps and ensures that they can communicate by sharing information and posing questions. This forum is password protected and it is a secure area for all LRs to converse. Live chats are also organised to discuss topics of particular importance.
All Learning Reps and student LRs are invited to attend the three national meetings each year; this is a great networking opportunity, as well as a source of continuing development. The dates of the meetings are set well in advance and all LRs are advised of these dates.
It is really important that Learning Reps attend as many of these meetings as possible. Each meeting is evaluated to ascertain whether it has met the expectations of the LRs in terms of content and format. Evaluations are also used to plan future meetings.
Learning Reps should be in regular contact with the Local Association Executive Committee/Branch to report on their activities and to ensure that they are following the EIS national and local CPD agendas.
This is required within the EIS Constitution but it is also just good practice to work closely with them to build a working relationship, and to seek their support in promoting CPD/Professional Learning and the Learning Rep role amongst members.
If LRs can attend Local Association Executive Committee/Branch meetings to report directly on their activities that is ideal – if this is not always possible then there should be a regular written report on activities.
The Local Association Executive/Branch must be aware that LRs are working to organise joint events, and that they obtain this information from the Learning Rep and not indirectly from the local authority or college/higher education institution management.
Learning Reps can request that their contact details are included in any publications produced by the local association or branch to promote the role.
We encourage all Learning Reps to work in partnership with CPD/Professional Learning personnel (local authority/college/higher education institution).
Once time off is arranged, it is likely that the new Learning Rep will be invited to meet with the relevant CPD/Professional Learning personnel to discuss how to work together to jointly promote CPD/Professional Learning.
If this invitation is not forthcoming it is open to the Learning Rep to make contact with the relevant personnel, explaining their role and asking to meet to discuss how they can work together.
Although we encourage this type of partnership working, this should never be confused by any employer believing that the Learning Rep will be directed by them – EIS Learning Reps are guided by and accountable to the EIS.
Again, it is important to keep the Local Association Secretary/Branch Secretary advised of any partnership working with the employer.
New Learning Reps are included in the list of LRs on this EIS website.
Learning Rep leaflets are available which give details of the role of EIS LRs and LRs can request copies of these – hard copies and electronic copies.
These leaflets are clear and concise on the role of LRs and inform colleagues of the benefits of Learning Rep guidance on CPD/Professional Learning.
There is also a leaflet relating to Professional Update which details how Learning Reps can give practical guidance and assistance to colleagues on Professional Learning, PRD and Professional Update. Again, copies of these are available can be requested.
Promotion posters are sent out to all schools, colleges and higher education institutions to be placed on notice-boards – these are generic posters and refer colleagues to the EIS website to obtain the contact details of their local Learning Rep.
Articles about the CPD events and other LR activities appear in each edition of the Scottish Educational Journal, which is another good way of promoting both CPD/Professional Learning and the role of LRs to members.