The outgoing President of the EIS, Margaret Smith, has used her final speech as EIS President to call for action to reduce the impact of poverty on young people across Scotland.

Addressing the EIS AGM in Perth, Ms Smith highlighted that schools alone cannot overcome wider societal issues such as poverty but will do all that they can to support young people from all backgrounds in reaching their potential.

In her keynote speech to the AGM, Ms Smith said, "Teaching is a caring profession – we care about the quality of our education system."

"We care about standards of teachers entering the profession. We care about the quality of the lessons we plan and deliver on a daily basis. We care about the outcomes for our learners of all ages."

"We care about the families we work with and the communities in which we work. We care about wee Johnny or Mary coming into school late, hungry and tired, without a pencil, no homework done."

"We care about the attainment gap. We care about poverty and the inequalities of opportunity. Some of these are societal issues which we as a profession are unable to fix but we as a profession are blamed for."

Ms Smith added, "The extra (attainment fund) money given to schools is welcome but is it going to close the gaps which exist? Are Standardised Assessments going to close the attainment gap?"

"If the teaching profession were listened to – really listened to and our ideas put into action – investment in Nursery teachers in all Nursery classes, smaller class sizes throughout the school, more teachers and more support for learning assistants would certainly go a long way to help close the attainment gap."

The EIS is holding its 171st Annual General Meeting at Perth Concert Hall this week. The AGM, which runs from Thursday to Saturday, is one of the key events in the Scottish education calendar.

Teachers and lecturers from across Scotland have gathered in Perth to debate policy and to agree the priorities for Scottish education in the year ahead.