I sincerely hope you managed to enjoy a break over the summer period, despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Across the holiday period, the Institute has remained engaged with both the Scottish Government and the Covid Education Recovery Group (CERG) on the developing situation re relaxation of societal mitigations. Progress on vaccination levels has enabled the Government to proceed with moves away from lockdown and with effect from Monday 9th August Scotland moved to Covid level "beyond level 0". More detail may be found here.
This will have implications for schools, but as detailed below, a pre-summer agreement to reopen with the same mitigations in place as on closure, will be in place for the initial period.
Separate advice on colleges and universities will apply and members in those sectors will receive specific briefings covering the details.
Whilst we hope that this academic session will see a more settled period, nothing is being taken for granted and collectively we will continue to press for maximum mitigations and Covid conscious approaches at all levels.
Before the Summer break agreement had been reached within CERG (Covid Education Recovery Group) that schools should reopen with the same regulations and mitigations in place as when they closed in June 2021. The Scottish Government's announcements on 3rd August broadly deliver on this commitment, although some changes will be phased in during the first six weeks and changes to self-isolation will apply on re-opening.
The self-isolation changes match those operating in wider society. Specific details can be found here. The EIS has raised concerns about how this will be implemented and monitored in schools, particularly around the testing of identified pupil close contacts. Discussions are ongoing to ensure that this process is a rigorous one.
At a local authority level, we expect previously agreed mitigations around pregnancy and increased vulnerability to be adhered to.
Further details were sent to EIS Reps last week, and can be found here.
It is essential at a school level that all risk assessments are revisited, and that agreement is reached around implementation of the revised guidance, which can be found here.
The EIS continues to press for rigorous application of agreed mitigations.
The Scottish Government has been meeting with stakeholders, including the EIS, regularly over the summer at the Advanced Learning Covid Recovery Group and other fora. The newly issued revised guidance for colleges and universities was consulted on during these meetings, and it may be found here.
In essence, we expect little immediate change to current teaching arrangements in colleges and universities. EIS Reps at colleges and universities will be working with institutions to revise general risk assessments, to ensure that high risk individuals are protected and on outbreak management plans. Reps and Members’ bulletins will be issued shortly and members are asked to contact their Reps in the first instance if they have any concerns.
The EIS has extensive climate change policies and supports climate change education in schools. We are also working with other trade unionists around the world to call on governments to agree meaningful outputs at the COP26.
Additionally, the EIS is working on a range of workstreams to support and develop climate change awareness and learning activity in the build-up, and subsequent, to COP26. These workstreams include: a series of climate change webinars; an EIS climate change education online portal of teaching resources; and an online exhibition of pupils’ work on climate-related issues on our website.
We are currently asking members to contact us with the following information:
Call for Member Developed Climate Change Teaching Resources
Call for Exhibits of Early Years and School Pupils’ Work on Climate-related Issues
Call for Examples of Where Pupils or Students have Been Active on Climate Change Issues Through their School or College
More information can be found on our website.
Branches are the backbone of our trade union; a space in which you can discuss workplace issues collectively and work together to negotiate for positive change in your establishment.
With the start of the new academic year, find out when your next EIS Branch meeting is taking place by speaking with your EIS Rep. If your workplace doesn't currently have a rep in place, please contact your EIS Organiser who will support you to organise a branch meeting.
The confirmation of SQA results for students, successfully signed off an enormous effort by teachers and lecturers to deliver for Scotland’s learners in the face of the most difficult of circumstances. At the time of writing, Scottish Government has yet to announce its plans for 2021/22, although it is difficult to see it doing anything other than reverting to an exam diet, given that the review being led by Ken Muir will not report until next year. Some form of contingency plan will need to be established, as any future impact of the pandemic cannot be dismissed, but the EIS has been clear in the NQ 2021 Group, that a repeat of the workload and assessment burden of this year would be unacceptable.
Updates will be issued as soon as developments allow.
Training is available for all EIS Reps, both new and experienced, and for activists interested in becoming an EIS Rep.
The EIS Reps course is a 4-day course delivered in 2 x 2-day blocks. The next course (online) is on 23rd - 24th September and 18th - 19th November 2021.
There is also an online EIS Reps course that will take place over 20 weeks with an online session every two weeks in the evening starting in mid-September. This course is ideal for Reps that have already done the four day EIS Reps Course and want to further develop their skills.
TUC training is also available for both new and experienced EIS Health and Safety Reps as a 2-day course.
A full list of 2021/2022 training courses with dates is available here.
If you are interested in becoming a Rep then please contact your Local Association Secretary or ULA/ FELA Branch Secretaries. If you have any queries regarding any of the above courses then please contact Jennifer Cook.
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 for interested researchers and facilitators are being held online via Zoom on the following dates:
Monday 6th September 2.30pm
Wednesday 15th September 4.30pm
Visit the EIS website for more information and to register your interest.
At the EIS AGM of 2021, a resolution was passed to establish a new Informal Network of Disabled Members.
The EIS subscribes to a social model of disability, which considers that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference. The Network is therefore a space for all members who identify as disabled, and for members who don’t think of themselves as having a disability but who would be entitled to reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act (2010). The Network is open to, among others, Autistic members, members with long-term hearing impairments, and those with long-term illness that affects their everyday lives.
Network meetings will act as a conduit for learning opportunities, and as supportive spaces for members to link up, discuss important issues and channel your voices within the work of the Union.
If you would like to join the Disabled Members’ Network and receive emails about upcoming meetings and opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The GAPS is a completely free virtual CPD event for current and aspiring pastoral leaders on 15th of September.
The event will feature presentations from:
Dr Pooky Knightsmith on Neurodiverse pupils
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk on Adverse ChildhoodExperiences (ACEs)
SAMH on Mental Health, Self Harm and Suicide
Who Cares Scotland? on Care Experienced Pupils
The TIE Campaign on LGBTQI+ pupils
The Scottish Learning Festival will take place from Tuesday 21 until Thursday 23 September.
For the first time ever the festival will be an entirely virtual event, offering the chance to enjoy the conference programme through a range of live and recorded sessions, take a tour around the virtual exhibition area and find a space to network with colleagues.
The theme for this year is ‘Renew, Refresh, Re-imagine: Learning from our experiences and looking to the future’.
More sessions will be added to the programme in the coming weeks and all sessions will be available to book towards the end of August. Visit the SLF website for more information and to register for updates.