18 June 2021

Created on: 17 Jun 2021 | Last modified: 19 Nov 2021


Message from the General Secretary

Dear Members

A short message as we approach the end of term.

May I start by reiterating my AGM thank you for the phenomenal job you have done and continue to do for Scotland’s children, young people and students. Your dedication, your selfless sense of duty, and above all your sheer professionalism have been veritable lifeboats in these turbulent times for our young people.

I hope you all enjoy a well-deserved break over the summer period.

We hope to be in a better place next session, but with infection levels still rising, nothing can be taken for granted and your Executive Committee only last week confirmed the need for us to remain vigilant around the need for covid mitigations in all education establishments. We will remain engaged over the summer with CERG (Covid Education Recovery Group), to this end, and on the need for proper resourcing of education recovery.

We are actively discussing with the Scottish Government implementation of its manifesto commitment to employ additional teachers (1,000 planned for next session) and to cutting class contact time from 22.5 hours to 21, a move which itself will create new permanent posts.

Next session’s qualification arrangements will be discussed, also. Member feedback has underlined the excessive workload pressures which this year’s circumstances have created, and that will be front and centre in our further representations to the SQA and the Scottish Government.

For the moment, however, please do enjoy your summer break, rest well and stay safe.

CERG Update

With pupil infection numbers still rising, CERG has maintained a cautious approach to current mitigations. In short, its advice is:

  • All current mitigations remain until the end of term.
  • The starting point for schools, post summer, will be the same mitigations apply.
  • It is recognised that schools will need time to remove mitigations after the start of term, if it is safe to do so, particularly the more logistically challenging ones.
  • Advice will be issued nearer the time on whether and which mitigations can be removed, to what timescales, after schools return.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, schools are not expected to spend time removing mitigations during the summer holidays.

ACM payment

Guidance has been issued to Councils re the payment of the £400. It can be found here.

It includes local discretion to include full payment based on contribution to the quality assurance / ACM model, irrespective of contractual status re full time equivalency. The EIS expects this to be applied liberally in schools. An appeals mechanism is included for anyone who is aggrieved at their situation, although recourse to the school rep is advised as first step.

Advice re Colleges will be issued shortly.

Pay Claim Update

Discussions around this year’s pay claim remain live but COSLA has indicated that it is unable to improve its previous offer (2% up to £40,000 and 1% above that) without a subvention from the Scottish government. Both parties are due to meet bilaterally.

The Teachers’ Side has rejected the tabled offer and insisted that only a universal increase would be acceptable and that with inflation currently above 2%, the value of the offer has to be increased dramatically.

FELA Update

At an NJNC side table, held on 17th June, agreement was reached between EIS-FELA and Colleges Scotland management on a circular relating to the implementation of the national agreement on distinction between instructor/assessor and lecturer roles.

This brings to a conclusion the national dispute on instructor / assessor roles replacing lecturers. However, the dispute at Forth valley College remains in place, while the issue is considered by the NJNC joint secretaries. Local disputes also remain at West Lothian College and Fife College respectively. 

EIS Advice on Transition arrangements 

The Education Department recently updated the Curriculum and Pedagogy advice in line with changes to the Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID 19): Reducing the Risks in Schools  and Early Learning and Childcare Services Guidance, including sections on transitions.

Standalone EIS guidance is also available for Nursery to Primary transition; P7 to Secondary transition; Nursery to P1 Transition (Special); and P7 to Secondary transition (Special). 

SEJ special online edition - AGM 2021

This year’s EIS AGM, held last week, was an online only event. In keeping with that format, the AGM special edition of the Scottish Educational Journal has also been produced in an online only format.

For all the detail on the 175th AGM, including coverage of all 44 Motions and reports on the speeches by the President, General Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Education, visit the online SEJ site.

Videos of the major speeches can be accessed via the SEJ, and a full video archive of the AGM can be accessed on the EIS Facebook page.

Climate Change Education – Planned EIS Portal

The EIS has extensive climate change policies and supports climate change education in schools. To mark this year’s COP26 conference in Glasgow, the EIS will host an EIS portal of climate change education resources, host a series of webinars, support a climate learning themed week and other activities.

We will be issuing a call to members at the start of the new session asking them to share their climate change education teaching materials and resources with the EIS. These materials will then be collated and will be hosted on an EIS portal and made available for other members. 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.

If you have any queries, please contact Lucy Murray lmurray@eis.org.uk 

Online EIS Reps Training Course

Places will soon be open for reps and activists to take part in a planned online EIS Reps' training course for the 2021/22 academic year. It is a bespoke course for EIS Reps that is accredited by the TUC. This course is ideal for those who have previously undertaken the 4 day EIS Reps' training course.

This course will deepen your working knowledge of trade unionism, being a workplace rep and how best to represent members in your school, building your confidence in this important role.

The course is entirely online to allow work to fit around reps’ work and lives. It is broken up into two 10 week blocks between September 2021 and April 2022 and is delivered by the City of Glasgow College.

To register interest, please contact Jennifer Cook at JCook@eis.org.uk

Collaborative Action Research: Call for participants

Are you involved in collaborative enquiry or action research with colleagues? Would your group benefit from support and networking to enhance your research activity and share findings with the whole profession?

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 leading some collaborative enquiry on a specific topic, this opportunity will enhance your research activity and extend your professional learning.

Initial information sessions and sign-ups for facilitator training will be held in Autumn 2021. Register your interest today by emailing rhenthorn@eis.org.uk.