21 September 2016

The EIS has welcomed today’s announcement that mandatory unit assessments are to be removed from National 5 and Higher courses.

EIS members in the Secondary sector have been engaged in a programme of industrial action since late June in relation to the excessive assessment burden placed on pupils and teachers by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The EIS, which represents 80% of teachers in Scotland including the majority of Secondary teachers, will now consider suspending its programme of industrial action at its national Council meeting next week.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "Today’s announcement that mandatory unit assessments at N5 and Higher are to be scrapped will be welcomed by teachers, pupils and parents.

This is a proposal which the EIS put to the Scottish Government as a way forward and clearly we welcome the agreement which has now been reached within the Qualification Review Group. 

Since the introduction of new National qualifications, pupils and teachers have been placed under an excessive and unnecessary assessment burden during the senior phase of Secondary, leading finally to EIS industrial action.

The agreement to remove mandatory unit assessments as a requirement from all N5 and Higher courses is a victory both for common sense and for that campaign of action, carried out by EIS members in Secondary schools across Scotland.”

Mr Flanagan added, "The EIS recognises the work undertaken by the Scottish Government, since the appointment of John Swinney as Cabinet Secretary for Education, to respond to the EIS campaign on teacher workload and the excessive assessment burden on pupils.

A number of other issues remain to be resolved and the EIS will continue to engage constructively with the Scottish Government, the SQA and other stakeholders to ensure that these are addressed and that the planned changes can be delivered as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.”

He concluded, "We will also continue to pursue firm action on other means of reducing excessive workload and cutting unnecessary bureaucracy in all sectors of education.”