Dear Member

Industrial Action Success

The EIS led proposal to remove unit assessments from both Higher and National 5 Qualifications was approved yesterday by the CfE Management Board.

This is a significant victory for EIS members in terms of the industrial action which has been undertaken to achieve this objective.

It was the EIS which tabled the proposals for the removal of the unit assessments and this objective has been achieved through extensive bilateral discussions with the Scottish Government and the pressure which was building through the industrial action campaign, with the no-cover element being a key catalyst to reaching an agreement.

Unit assessments will be removed from National 5 units from next session and then from Higher the following year. We would have preferred for both set of changes to have happened next session and pushed for this with the Scottish Government.

The SQA claimed that it would be stretched to achieve the National 5 deadline and that any delay to an agreement would jeopardise even that time-line. Whilst we do not accept the SQA's positon, it was felt that we shouldn't give them an excuse to walk away from the changes.

The timeline was agreed, therefore, subject to agreement from the SQA to the continued suspension of random unit verification for Higher courses next session, which has been confirmed.

Students, in future, will either be entered for a graded course award (based on a final examination plus coursework, where applicable) or for individual units - but not both. A course award will carry the full tariff scores.

As a result of the gains made, EIS Council has today confirmed that the industrial action currently being undertaken, specifically the advice on not providing cover for colleagues absent on SQA business and on the withdrawal of cooperation with SQA, is suspended.

Members should note, however, that the general advice on controlling workload, including the auditing of WTAs, and the particular advice around employing holistic marking approaches to Unit assessment, remain active as EIS advice on reducing workload.

The EIS is clear that whilst Unit assessments have been a major driver of excessive workload, other significant pressures remain to be tackled under the broader workload campaign. The lesson from the industrial action is that by acting together members can achieve positive changes - this is as true at a school level as it is nationally.

Updates will be issued shortly with further detail on the ongoing discussions around National 4, multi-level classes, and transition from BGE to Senior Phase.

Thank you for your support in this campaign; let us continue to build on this success.

Yours sincerely

Larry Flanagan
General Secretary