Thursday 16 June 2016

Secondary teachers across Scotland have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action on excessive SQA-related workload.

Secondary members of the EIS, have been voting in a statutory industrial action ballot over the last three weeks. The ballot closed this morning and members have delivered an overwhelming ‘Yes’ vote for industrial action, by 95% to 5%.

The EIS represents over 80% of the teaching profession in Scotland, including the majority of the country’s Secondary teachers.

Commenting on the ballot result, General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "Scotland’s Secondary teachers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action against the severe workload burden that has been generated by the SQA.

"This ballot result reflects the frustration of Scotland’s Secondary teachers over the excessive assessment demands being placed on them and their pupils, particularly around unit assessments at National 5 and Higher; and the EIS now has a very clear mandate to implement an immediate work-to-contract in relation to SQA activity.”

Mr Flanagan continued, "The target of this industrial action is both SQA bureaucracy and excessive internal unit assessment, with its associated workload burden for teachers and unacceptable assessment pressures on students.

"It is not our intention that this action should impact directly on pupils, and teachers will continue to teach classes normally and to assess pupils’ work.

"We will be issuing guidance to our members advising which SQA-related activities they should withdraw cooperation from, and which activities teachers should continue to undertake as normal.”

Mr Flanagan added, "At the EIS Annual General Meeting last week, many teachers spoke of the desperate need to for the Scottish Government to hold the SQA to account and to insist on speedy reforms to assessment practices in order to lighten the excessive burden on pupils and teachers.”

"In August 2014 the then Cabinet Secretary for Education, Michael Russell, in a foreword to a report on the first year of new qualifications acknowledged the excessive workload demands which had been placed on teachers and outlined a number of actions points, including the removal of duplication between Unit assessment and external exams.

"Two Cabinet Secretaries later, and two full school years on, not one single unit assessment has been removed. That is why EIS members have voted for action.”

"This overwhelming ballot result today should send a very clear message to the Scottish Government, to the SQA, and to Education Scotland, that change needs to happen and to happen quickly.”