25 October 2021

Created on: 20 Oct 2021 | Last modified: 19 Nov 2021

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COVID Update

We issued a direct update recently, indicating that the Scottish Government had delayed any further easing of in-school mitigations, a position the EIS had argued for and welcomed. The situation remains under weekly review, however, with an eye on the roll out of the vaccine to secondary age pupils and infection levels (74% of 16-17 year olds and 48% of 12-15 years have had a vaccine injection). The October break will have disrupted school patterns so this will need to be factored into any analysis. The latest PHS data can be found here.

The EIS continues to urge the Scottish Government to take a cautious approach to any easing of mitigations.

Further Rep training on ventilation protocols will be launched shortly.

Member survey

We will be issuing shortly a member survey relating to covid mitigations, workload, and health and wealth being. Surveys for FE and HE are being run, also.  Member participation will be most welcome.

Special Leave for Covid-19 absences

On 30 September the SNCT agreed Circular SNCT/21/84 COVID-19 and Long COVID. This provides for up to 12 weeks of special leave for absences due to Covid-19.

This agreement was approved by the SNCT on 30 September 2021 and will be applied retrospectively to all relevant absences from 8 July 2021. 

Members requiring further advice or support on this matter should make contact with their LA Secretary.

Self-Funded Sabbaticals

The SNCT has to come to agreement on a scheme for self-funded sabbaticals. The self-funded sabbatical provides teachers and associated professionals with the opportunity to undertake a sabbatical after 5 years of employment. 

The details of this scheme can be found here.

Local arrangements will be put in place by LNCTs with regard to the application process and a year’s notice will be required for starting in the following session. However, due to the issue of this provision being delayed for this year only, applications can be made within a shorter time-span. Please see here for further information.

The EIS is still seeking to secure sabbaticals that are co-funded by the employer or funded by Scottish Government and will continue to pursue this within the SNCT.

SRUC Industrial Action

Members at the SRUC are undertaking a programme of industrial action in a long-running dispute over Pay & Grading.

Pay for lecturers at SRUC has fallen significantly behind the norms across both the Further and Higher Education sectors, and the pay offer made to our members was also completely inadequate and unilaterally imposed by the SRUC.

You can show your support on social media using the hashtag #FairPayForSRUC

EIS Advice on the Resumption of HMIE Inspection Activity

The EIS issued advice last month following Education Scotland’s announcement of plans to resume scrutiny activity. The advice can be read here.

In a recent meeting with Education Scotland, we made very clear the sense of dismay and disbelief which had been communicated to HQ by members and urged that schools should be allowed to opt out of any planned scrutiny visits, where circumstances dictated. ES indicated that there would be dialogue with Councils prior to any inspection announcements as it wished to take full cognisance of covid related circumstances. The EIS Education Committee will consider further a report of the meeting with ES.

Climate Change Webinars

The EIS is hosting a series of twilight webinars looking at the climate emergency; and the role of society, trade unions and education in tackling climate change.

Our webinars also consider climate change education from both the teachers’ and pupils’ perspectives. Our remaining 2 webinars are entitled.

Global Day for Climate Justice - 6 November

The EIS is supporting the COP26 Demo as part of the Global Day for Climate Justice and is encouraging members to attend, where they can safely do so. Every Local Association has been asked to make the necessary transport arrangements for interested members to join the Demo, and to offer reimbursement for members to reclaim the travel costs if no EIS bus is available.

Assembly will take place in Kelvingrove Park from 11am, with the march leaving around 12pm to Glasgow Green and a rally there at 3pm with a “host of global speakers”.

Call for Exhibits of Pupils' work on Climate-Related Issues

We are seeking examples of pupils' work on climate-related issues for a virtual exhibition. We are looking for 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. 

The exhibition will feature work from Early Years, Primary, Secondary & ASN classes and run online from 1 November.

(We are happy to accept further items after this date at any time until the end of this session since the exhibition will be open throughout.)

New Briefing on Tech Poverty

The EIS has launched a new briefing for EIS members on Digital Poverty. This is part of the EIS’s continuing impact of poverty in education campaign.

During the pandemic, levels of poverty have increased and the greater reliance on digital learning further exacerbated the impact of the digital divide on young people whose families are on low income.

Professional Learning October - December

A wide range of online courses are available over the coming months on topics such as:

  • Leadership and professional identity,

  • Mental health and wellbeing,

  • ASN provision,

  • Whole school approaches and community engagement,

  • Digital skills.

Please visit the EIS Professional Learning Courses & Seminars page to find out more.

Equality in Focus webinar series

The EIS Equality in Focus series is funded by Scottish Union Learning to increase confidence and commitment of members in relation to equality matters within Union activity. Open to all members, the next two webinars will also feature performances by poets Mae Diansangu and Noon Salah Eldin.

  • Mobilising for Anti-racism at work: 27thOctober 4pm - 6.30pm. This workshop will utilise the EIS resource Mobilising for Anti-racism at Work, developed as part of previous EIS equality learning focussing on anti-racism, to facilitate discussion regarding how participants may take anti-racism forward in their workplaces.

  • Mobilising against Anti-Muslim prejudice at work: 2ndNovember 4pm – 6.30pm. This workshop will build on the EIS resource on Challenging Anti-Muslim Prejudice, to facilitate discussion about practical interventions in the workplace.

Informal Networks

The next meetings of the EIS BAME Network (16th November), and the EIS Disabled Members Network (date tbc) will include information about joining EIS decision making structures, and feature Q&A sessions about workplace rights, reasonable adjustments and the case handling protocol.

To sign up to the BAME Network meeting on the 16th November, click here.

To join the mailing list for the Disabled Members Network, sign up here.

Training

EIS representatives are fundamental to the work of our union and play a vital role for the members in the workplace.

Training is available for all EIS reps, both new and experienced, and for activists interested in becoming an EIS rep. The 4-day courses are offered in 2 x 2- day blocks and are aimed at reps who are relatively new in the role or those who have had no formal union training. This course is also useful for activists planning on playing a larger role in the EIS or who wish to become reps.

Please contact your Local Association Secretary to be nominated for these courses. LA Secretaries will register interested reps with HQ.

Student Teacher and Probationer Webinars: Coming in November

Each year the EIS organises several events and webinars for student teacher members and separate events for probationer members.

The next student teacher Webinar will focus on “Placement and Class Management” about what to expect on your teaching placements and how our union can support you on placement and beyond. Get advice and top tips from experienced practitioners and EIS Organisers. Look out for details coming soon.

The next Probationer Webinar will focus on Mental Health & Wellbeing whilst a Probationer Teacher, Workload and how to manage it and Self-Care, what is it – How being an EIS member helps. Look out for details coming soon.

Win 1 of 5 Fortnum & Mason Hampers!

EIS Financial Services & Cornmarket are giving you the chance to WIN 1 of 5 Christmas Treat Hampers from Fortnum & Mason. This competition is exclusive to EIS members. Simply complete the entry form before the 5th of December 2021.