The AGM of the EIS takes place at Perth Concert Hall from Thursday to Saturday this week.

59 Motions will be debated on a wide range of issues, including several motions related to the impact of budget cuts on education provision. This week, the EIS has published the findings of a survey on the impact of cuts to school cleaning services which arose from a resolution at last year's Annual General Meeting.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "For the past decade, the UK-wide policy of enforced austerity has had a serious impact on the provision of public services. Scottish education has endured a painful period of deep cuts to funding, resources and staffing which has had a serious impact on the learning and teaching environment in our schools."

"This year's AGM will highlight the damaging nature of cuts on nursery education, provision of education for young people with additional support needs, the loss of subject specialist teachers, and the increase in shared headteachers working across more than one school."

Last year's AGM passed a Motion calling on the EIS to report on the impact of cuts to cleaning services in schools. The EIS carried out a national survey on this issue, and has published its findings this week. Respondents from almost 700 schools across Scotland took part in the survey, and the findings included:

  • 80% of schools have seen a reduction in the frequency or quality of cleaning due to budget cuts over the past 3 years
  • Many schools report no cleaning at all is carried out on some days
  • Pupils' desks, classroom sinks, and other shared surfaces not cleaned or not cleaned regularly
  • Toilets not cleaned regularly, and toilet rolls, soaps and drying materials not replenished frequently enough
  • Floors not cleaned even if muddy; bins not emptied; vomit and other bodily fluids not cleaned up effectively
  • Cleaners provided with cheaper ineffective cleaning products, or even just water, to clean with
  • Cleaners allocated too little time to clean each room effectively
  • No absence cover provided when cleaners are off sick.

Commenting, Larry Flanagan said, "The results of this survey make for worrying reading. Schools simply must be properly cleaned on a daily basis to ensure an appropriate learning and teaching environment for pupils and staff."

"Cuts to cleaning services are placing a great deal of strain on cleaning staff, in some instances forcing teachers to undertake cleaning of classrooms, and creating an environment where germs and disease can spread rapidly and with serious repercussions for the health of pupils and staff."

"This can lead to increases in pupil and teacher absence, with a detrimental impact on both wellbeing and on learning and teaching. Recent incidences such as major outbreaks of norovirus and infestations of insects or rodents in schools have further highlighted the consequences of cutting back on proper cleaning within our schools."