Teacher numbers welcome, growth of temp contracts a concern
Following the publication of the 2012 census data the EIS provided a cautious welcome for the figures provided by Scottish Government.
Commenting, Larry Flanagan said: "In 2011, as part of a package of changes to secure employment for teachers, the EIS agreed through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) the minimum number of teachers in Scotland should be at least 51,131."
"This figure was met in 2011 and has been met again in 2012. While there is a slight upward trend in pupil numbers the commitment to maintain teacher numbers has been met. We welcome the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to teacher employment.”
"The EIS is concerned, however, that 12% of teachers are on temporary contracts. The lack of security in employment is a factor in driving teachers to find secure employment elsewhere.”
Mr Flanagan also referred to independent research on teachers’ pay commissioned by the EIS (Stewart Research 2012) which reveals that teachers continue to work at least 10 hours per week on average in addition to contractual time.
"Teacher goodwill continues to be essential to the delivery of a quality education, but that goodwill is not endless.”
"The maintenance of teacher numbers is absolutely necessary in the delivery of effective education but heavy teacher workload – including very high levels of unpaid overtime – requires to be looked at by employers."
"The EIS has argued that Scottish Government and local authorities should be protecting teacher numbers by a guaranteed minimum staffing standard which would bring certainty in employment."
"That should be a priority in the period ahead to offer stability to parents across Scotland.”
Moving on to other statistics revealed in today’s publication, Mr Flanagan said: "Another area of significant concern identified in today’s statistics is that 1 in 4 nursery aged children had not had ‘access’ to a qualified teacher during the week of the survey."
"This highlights that far too many young children are not receiving adequate access to the high quality teacher-led nursery education that they deserve."
"Despite the Scottish Government commitment to improve access to teachers in the nursery sector, the lack of legislation to enshrine the right of nursery-aged children’s to be taught by a qualified teacher in law is leading to a postcode lottery of provision."
"The EIS will continue to push for a better deal for nursery children, including through a planned meeting with the Cabinet Secretary in the near future.”
On class sizes, Mr Flanagan said, "The EIS also notes the slight increase in class sizes identified in the statistics."
"While the overall increase is fairly small, this remains an issue of real concern. The Scottish Government and local authorities are committed to reducing class sizes, which remains key to delivering an enhanced education for all young people through Curriculum for Excellence.”
Further information from: Brian Cooper on 0131 225 6244 or firstname.lastname@example.org