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News Release - 2 Feb 2011

Renfrewshire Teachers to be balloted against part-time Education

Primary teachers in Renfrewshire are to take part in an indicative ballot for industrial action in opposition to the Council’s plans to cut the teaching week in primary schools by 2.5 hours. 

The EIS is vehemently opposed to Renfrewshire Council’s proposals which will dilute the quality of education in primary schools, and is urging teachers to vote strongly against the changes.

Commenting on the indicative ballot, EIS General Secretary Ronnie Smith said, "The proposals in Renfrewshire, which would cut 2.5 hours per week from the primary school teaching week, are disgraceful and would dilute the quality of education that children receive in Renfrewshire primary schools. 

"Teachers and parents are, quite rightly, horrified that the Council is seeking to move towards a part-time teaching week for primary pupils.  This really is the thin edge of the wedge and would set a very dangerous precedent where Councils put delivering education on the cheap ahead of providing a high-quality learning and teaching experience for all young children.”

Mr Smith continued, "The Council’s attempt to portray their cuts as an ‘enrichment’ of children’s education is reprehensible, as the reality is these changes would lead to lower-quality education provision for primary pupils.  There is simply no educational rationale for the Council’s proposals, and no justification for removing 2.5 hours of teaching from an already busy primary school week. 

"The Council has also attempted to use the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence as a cover for their ill-advised and damaging proposals.  But their actions actually run counter to the ethos of CfE by potentially side-lining the role of the teacher for a significant part of the school week.  These proposals are dangerous and they must be stopped.”

Mr Smith went on to say, "Renfrewshire Council is standing alone on this issue – it is the only Council in Scotland that is proposing to cut the amount of teaching time that primary pupils receive each week. 

"The Council is embarking on a dangerous and damaging path without any support from teachers, parents or educational policy-makers at a national level, and the end result will be the diminution of the quality of education in Renfrewshire, and untold damage to the Council’s reputation and standing. 

"The children of Renfrewshire have a right to expect the same consistent, high-quality educational experience as their peers in other parts of the country.  It is time for everyone who cares about education to unite against this damaging move towards part-time education in primary schools. 

"Teachers are prepared to take a stand against these proposals in defence of quality education for all pupils, and we are confident that parents and the wider community will also give their support to the campaign.  We must send the message that ‘going cheap’ is not an option where our children’s education is at stake.”

For more information, please contact:
Brian Cooper (Media & Communications), Tel 0131 225 6244

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