17 September 2021

eBulletin

Covid Update

A COVID update can be found here..

ASN

The advice on Test and Protect currently applies to ASN settings also but clearly it is much more likely that there will have been closer contact between staff and students in such settings and the need for automatic PCR testing will be greater. The updated Scottish Government Guidance does have additional advice re ASN settings, which we have pressed for, but the issue is also specifically to be looked at next week by the Advisory Group on Education and then reported back to CERG. We will keep members updated on developments.

Testing

Uptake amongst teachers of the twice weekly lateral flow test is reported at below 30%. Whilst this figure is probably lower than reality, as not everyone records negative tests, the EIS would urge members to take advantage of the LFTs as an additional measure to protect themselves and colleagues and minimise the risk of in-school transmission.

SQA Update

The SQA has issued advice re 2021/22.

The EIS has been clear in the 2022 National Qualifications Group that we cannot run a dual assessment system whereby schools prepare for exams but also collate a portfolio of evidence, “just in case”. Such an approach would create a huge workload implication for staff and an assessment burden for students. This position is reflected in the SQA guidance, but members should be alert to any deviance from the guidance and raise concerns as quickly as possible with school reps or LA secretaries.

There is reference in the SQA communication to its quality assurance of evidence – we are clear that much of the additional workload from the 2021 ACM model was driven by SQA quality assurance processes, which led to the £400 payment and the need for additional inset days. In our view there is no justification for any external quality assurance by SQA unless and until a decision is made to cancel exams – anything other than that will create unnecessary additional workload for schools. We have also been clear that in the event that any quality assurance is required, this must be light-touch.

Return of Inspections

Education Scotland has announced a planned return of 'scrutiny activity' i.e. inspections, beginning initially with those schools which are due follow up visits. The EIS is clear that this is the wrong time for such an initiative. EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan commented publicly that, “This move shows Education Scotland and the Scottish Government to be deeply out of touch with the reality that schools are currently facing, amidst record levels of pupil and teacher Covid-related absence and therefore significant ongoing disruption.” Read the full press release here.

Pensions

The 2021 Annual Benefit Statements from the Scottish Public Pensions Agency are now available online. All members should check their statements thoroughly and ensure they are available here.

Members should check the following are correct and advise SPPA on SPPAcontactus@gov.scot if there are any queries:

  • Personal Details (date of joining is likely to be missing)

  • CARE Earnings (this should be the actual pay earned in the scheme year April to March)

  • CARE Pension to date (this is the total pension accrued)

  • Final salary benefits - NPA (this should be 60 if you joined before April 2007 and 65 if you joined after April 2007 and before 2015)

  • Total Pensionable Service (this is the service in the final salary scheme, this is pro rata if you have worked part time)

  • Pensionable Pay (this should be the full time equivalent pay for the scheme year)

  • Pension (calculated on 1/80thof pensionable pay for each year for those with NPA 60 and 1/60th for those with NPA 65)

  • Lump Sum (3 times pension for those with NPA 60, should be blank for those with NPA 65)

  • Check Survivor Benefits are as expected

  • HMRC Lifetime Allowance - if total is over 90% seek Independent Financial Advice

EIS Climate Education Webinars

As COP26 is to be hosted in Glasgow this coming Autumn, the EIS is hosting a series of twilight webinars looking at the climate emergency, and the role of education and trade unions in tackling this.

These webinars will be hosted between 29th September and 3rd November and we encourage all members to book their places at these informative and engaging events.

Call for Exhibits of Early Years and School Pupils’ Work on Climate-related Issues

Would you be willing to support your pupils to digitally share their work on a national scale through an online exhibition hosted by the EIS? The exhibition will be open to virtual visitors from all over Scotland and even beyond! Have the children and young people in your Early Years, Primary, Secondary or ASN classes been inspired in their learning on climate-related issues? Are you planning to create opportunities for learning on climate-related issues this academic session?

If so, we’d be delighted to receive artwork, writing in various genres such as stories, poetry and essays, short drama pieces, short video pieces, music and song, science investigations - any kind of piece that can be scanned or photographed or recorded and hosted online. All pieces that are sent to us complete and in downloadable files will be included in the exhibition which will open week commencing Monday 1st November. With this in mind, please send any pupil work to us by Wednesday 27th October.

To register your interest in taking part, contact lmeechan@eis.org.uk and further details will follow.

Call for Climate Change Teaching Resources

We would be grateful to receive climate change education resources or materials from members. These materials should be materials or resources produced by members, and may cover any aspect of climate change for pupils or students in schools, colleges or universities.

The selected materials will be shared on our website and, possibly, with other teaching unions' members where those unions are running similar initiatives.

We hope to launch this portal in the run-up to COP26 and it will be available to members for the rest of the school year.

Please contact Lucy Murray if you have any queries or to submit your materials by the 8th October 2021.

Pensions Update: FAQs

Legislation for the remedy to the age discrimination issue is yet to be put in place and our website will be updated with any further developments as they happen. The administrative and legislative changes required should be in place later this year. Updates on the remedy process will be posted on our website as we receive them.

Please have a look at our FAQs.

Courses, workshops, and webinars taking place online in September and October

Course - Reflecting on Delivering Wellbeing Activities in Educational Settings

Course - Understanding Racial Trauma in Children and Young People

Course - Engaging with Communities

Course - Exploring the Mental Health and Well-being Needs of Teachers and Lecturers

Webinar - Continuing Our Journey into the Outdoors - Early Years Webinar

Workshop - Scottish Poetry Library Creative Writing Workshop

Some courses are funded additionally for people working and living in the Highlands and Islands, and Argyll and Bute areas, as follows:

Course - Reflecting on Delivering Wellbeing Activities in Educational Settings

Course - Digital Well-being

Collaborative Action Research: Information Session 15th September

In 2021-22 the EIS is planning to support members to undertake collaborative action research to support members’ professional learning and empower teachers through practitioner enquiry. This support will include facilitator training to help collaboratives structure their activity, guidance from academic colleagues at the University of Glasgow, and opportunities to share ideas or findings with other researchers and colleagues at national events.

If you are part of an informal research collaborative, or interested in building a new network for collaborative enquiry on a specific topic, this opportunity will enhance your research activity and extend your professional learning.

Initial information sessions for interested researchers and facilitators are being held online via WebEx on Wednesday 15th September 4.30pm.

If you are unable to attend this information session, please still get in touch via the EIS website to register your interest.

Gwen Mayor Trust

The Gwen Mayor Memorial Trust was established following the tragic events in Dunblane Primary School on 13 March 1996, when teacher, Gwen Mayor, lost her life along with 16 pupils. The purpose of the trust is “to advance education by providing financial support for projects in connection with the arts, culture, music or sport submitted to the Trustees by primary schools or departments in Scotland.”

Applications are now invited from primary schools and departments in Scotland. Proposed projects should fall within the purpose of the fund as set out above. Requests for full or partial funding of projects will be considered. Ask your EIS Rep about how to apply.

EIS Extra - exclusive new vehicle savings for members, from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Affinity Scheme provides EIS members access to exclusive savings on their range of new cars & vans.  Exceptional promotions are now available on new vehicles from the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Jeep & Fiat Professional Brands.

FCA offer an extensive choice of models to suit individual requirements and budget.  This includes the iconic Fiat 500 and the All-New Fiat 500 Electric, the sporty Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV and the Jeep Wrangler, their formidable 4x4. The FCA Affinity Scheme provides substantial savings which are revised on a regular basis and include a range of finance options to make your purchase even more affordable*.

Log in or register to EIS Extra to find out more (then search for ‘fiat’).





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