Budget deal will threaten quality of Scottish Education, says EIS
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has responded to yesterday’s Scottish budget announcement and warned that the deal struck by the Scottish Government and local authority group COSLA will damage the quality of education provision across Scotland and will create serious difficulties for many schools, teachers and pupils.
Commenting today, EIS General Secretary Ronnie Smith said, "The deal that the Scottish Government has struck with COSLA will cause widespread damage to Scottish education and will have a negative impact in schools across the country. The budget-cutting agenda will lead to a cull of teachers on short-term contracts in order to create the impression that more new teachers will gain jobs next year.
But recently qualified teachers, many working on supply or fixed term contracts, will be cast aside and left on the scrapheap. This smacks more of job-rotation than job creation. It is nothing more than a revolving door for new teachers.”
Mr Smith added, "And for those lucky enough to gain some supply work, the situation will get a lot worse too. The proposals include provision for all supply teachers, no matter their level of experience, to be paid at the same low rate at the bottom of the pay scale.
By picking on people with some of the most precarious employment contracts and seeking to pay them less than the going rate for their work, the Scottish Government and COSLA will threaten the availability of supply teachers, particularly in more rural areas. The result will be that classes will go untaught and pupils will suffer through the loss of their teachers.”
Mr Smith went on to say,
"It is disingenuous for the Scottish Government to establish an independently chaired Review of the agreement on 'a Teaching Profession for the 21st Century’
which is to begin its work only after key changes to the deal are set to be concluded. All that will be left for the Review is to rake over the ashes of what has been one of the most progressive and productive Agreements struck in the public sector in recent years.
The 21st Century Agreement
was concluded through good-faith, tripartite negotiations among the Scottish Executive, local authorities and teachers’ unions. All the parties signed up freely to that agreement and, while no-one got everything that they wanted, it was agreed by all sides that the negotiations had led to a fair deal for all parties to the agreement.
For the employers and Government now to seek to tear up key elements of the Agreement that they do not like runs the risk of casting Scottish education back years and damaging all the good work on enhancing teacher professionalism that was integral to the 21st Century Teaching Agreement
"If the Scottish Government and COSLA push ahead down this dangerous path, the damage that they cause to Scottish education will be considerable. The pay freeze, coupled with the rising cost of living and planned increases to teachers’ pension contributions will cut significantly the living standards of every teacher in Scotland.
"Cutting the pay of many senior teachers as well as temporary staff will demoralise and demotivate them; once again, teaching will become an unattractive career option – ultimately leading to staff shortages. And eroding such valuable and proven programmes as the world-renowned Teacher Induction Scheme
and the Chartered Teacher Scheme
would have severe implications for teachers’ professional development, which remains essential to ensuring the high standards that we expect from Scotland’s teachers.”
"Taken together, we face a serious attack on teacher professionalism and teachers’ pay and conditions. The lack of any concrete commitments on future teacher numbers is in sharp contrast to the very precise promises on police numbers.”
"We risk a demoralised, demotivated and depleted teacher workforce and the big losers will be our children who will face larger class sizes, teacher shortages and a reduced quality of educational experience,” said Mr Smith.
For more information, please contact:
Brian Cooper (Media & Communications), Tel 0131 225 6244
Ronnie Smith (General Secretary), Tel 0131 225 6244,