27 November 2020

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Covid Update

Christmas

Discussions are taking place nationally around the possibility of an earlier school close in the run-up to Christmas and a delayed start to the new term.

A move to remote learning for these periods is being considered, also. The reasoning is to ensure minimal knock-on effects of any outbreaks before the Christmas break, and to delay any consequence of a rise in infections levels following relaxed mitigations during the break.  

The EIS is strongly in favour of this approach but no decision has been taken as yet, although some Councils have planned slightly earlier finishes.

Council

EIS Council last week approved a call for Level 4 to trigger automatic consideration of blended / remote learning contingencies; the establishment of fora and protocols to facilitate trade union involvement in said considerations; a demand for full transparency around enhanced surveillance data to support the above process and a renewed demand for mass proactive Testing in Schools.

It was agreed, also, to support school branches in Level 4 areas which wished to move to consultative ballots on safety issues. Full report in forthcoming SEJ.

For Your Information, First Minister

Comments from the survey are being organised into feedback packages which we intend to send to the FM, to illustrate the realities of teaching during a pandemic.

We will be encouraging members to also message the FM with front-line experiences to better inform her of the challenge teachers are facing. Further details next week.

Blended and Remote Learning Webinar

Join us for an informative and interactive 90 minutes around Blended and Remote Learning on Wednesday, 2nd December at 4.30pm. The session will include information about recent EIS guidance, practical input from Education Scotland on teaching and learning resources which can be used in these contexts, and panel discussions for Primary and Secondary settings. 

For more information, please visit the EIS website, and book your place via the online form.

FELA National Day of Action

As part of our campaign around the national instructor accessor dispute we will be holding an online rally TODAY!

The rally will be livestreamed across our national EIS Facebook page.

The consultative ballot for industrial action is now open. Please vote yes! More information about the dispute is available on our website.

Course Assessment Arrangements for Session 2020-21: Frequently Asked Questions

The SQA during the first half of November provided advice to centres on a subject by subject basis in relation to some aspects of the altered assessment arrangements for this session arising from the challenges presented by COVID 19. EIS members contacted the EIS Education Department with questions in response to the publication of the SQA advice. These and the accompanying answers can be found here.

SNSAs

It recently came to the attention of the EIS that the company which was commissioned by the Scottish Government to create SNSAs, ACER, has been advertising to schools in various education publications a suite of online standardised assessments for use with all year groups from P2 to S1. The EIS considers this to be a wholly inappropriate breach of policy in relation to the use of standardised assessments. The Scottish Government guidance on the use of SNSAs makes clear that no other form of standardised assessment should be being used for any year group from P1 to S3.

To do so would result in significant over-assessment of young people, which would be a matter of concern at any time, and particularly while wellbeing is a particular priority in the context of the pandemic.

The EIS is therefore of the clear view that ACER’s ‘Scottish Formative Online Assessments’ should not be used as the means to determine levels of ‘learning loss’ among pupils at this time, as their advertisements suggest. School’s own assessment policies will be more than capable of supporting teachers to identify where young people require specific support.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it intends for SNSAs to be used this year, as one element of a much wider approach to assessment. As with all matters relating to assessment, the potential use of SNSAs this session should be subject to collegiate discussion in light of the wellbeing principles of the Recovery Curriculum.

Curriculum and Pedagogy Guidance

The Education Department has updated its Curriculum and Pedagogy Guidance for Early Years, Primary, Secondary, Special Education (Primary) and Special Education (Secondary) in line with the changes made to the Scottish Government guidance for schools and early learning and childcare settings.

Still places remaining: upcoming anti-racist learning

Towards Equality in our Work: Learning for BAME educators on anti-racist leadership

The EIS is pleased to offer this learning opportunity as part of our new EIS BAME Network activity. These sessions will offer a space for BAME members to network, access leadership learning, reflect on their experiences and gain practical skills. 

Learning is organised in 2 Modules, each consisting of a 2-hour long session. For more information and to book, visit our website.

Mobilise and Organise for Race Equality: Learning for School Reps and Local Association Secretaries on anti-racist trade union leadership

Over the last year, the EIS has continued our long-standing commitment to race equality in standing alongside the Black Lives Matter Movement.

This essential course for trade union representatives will enable you to be an effective voice for anti-racism within Education and within the trade union movement. To book a place and for more information visit our website.

All-member webinar: Taking Action on Gender-Based Violence

Monday 7th December 4.30pm - 6.30pm

As part of 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence, the EIS are hosting a panel webinar to encourage you to grow your knowledge and take action on GBV. This event will provide an introduction to a range of issues related to GBV, and how it may manifest for both adults and young people.

The panel of expert speakers will shed light on sexual violence prevention in schools, the gender dynamics of domestic abuse and the particular impacts for BAME people, and LGBT people. To book your place, please register here.

Opportunity for disabled members

Tuesday 19th January 10-12pm.

The EIS is hosting an online event for members who identify as disabled, or who have access or communication difficulties, on the 19th of January. The meeting will be an opportunity to network, discuss support and share good practice. Book your place here.

Save the date! All member webinar on the rise of the far right

Wednesday 27th January 4.30-6.30pm

This is the third instalment of EIS webinars exploring race and racism in education and what difference we can all make to further anti-racism within our institutions and beyond. Further information to follow.

Professional Learning Opportunities available in November and December

The Impact of Teachers in Early Years: Professional Identity and Agency – 30th November

Continuing our series of Early Years focused webinars, this webinar will include workshops to further explore theory and practice, with a blend of academic and practitioner led discussions. Visit the website for more information, and to book your place.

Engaging with Communities – starting 8th December

Working alongside the WEA, we bring you a new course – Engaging with Communities. This interactive, online course will involve two evening sessions on Tuesdays 8th and 15th December, from 4.30pm to 7.30pm. Visit the website for more information, and to book your place.

Leadership Toward Management for BAME Teachers and Lecturers – starting 3rd December

This online course delivered over two evenings – 3rd and 10th December, focuses on exploring and building leadership skills and professional identity, as well facilitating space and time to reflect with other teachers and lecturers with similar goals. Visit the website for more information, and to book your place.





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