General Secretary Update 5 June 2020

Created on: 05 Jun 2020 | Last modified: 15 Jul 2021

Coronavirus Update

Advice on June Working

Agreements have been reached in a number of LNCTs around the potential for staff returning to school at some point in June but it is clear that in some areas the basis for this is more contested.

The Deputy First Minister and Cllr Stephen McCabe have signed a joint letter to teachers, on behalf of the Scottish Government and COSLA respectively,  which helpfully reiterates the advice contained in last week’s Guidance document from CERG (Covid Education Recovery Group) around staff returning to buildings  in June, as well as advice on maintaining a  workload balance. The letter can be found here.

The EIS advice, also issued last week is explicit, and confirmed in the letter:

  • Schools should only be open for staff access once public health advice allows and where a risk assessment has been carried out and implemented and school buildings cleaned.

  • Staff should only return to school buildings where there is a designated specific purpose to said return (HUBs, preparing for next session, transition arrangements)  and that this should be subject to agreement at school level.

  • The default should be to work from home where possible and those with underlying health conditions, shielding, or childcare commitments should be supported to continue to work from home.

If you feel that you are being asked to return to school in breach of this guidance, you should set out your concerns in writing to your line manager and indicate your intention to work from home until a satisfactory reply is received; you should raise the matter with your school rep (and/or your Local Association Secretary) , also, so that it becomes a collective action, potentially leading to a grievance if no resolution is found.

SNCT Circular

Please find here an SNCT Circular which outlines the agreed guidance around the August 11th start date; displaced holidays; prior commitments; and summer retirals.

Webinar Series

Across June the EIS nationally is running a webinar series for members.

Webinar 1 “Building a Collective Response to COVID19 in Schools: Understanding Risk Assessments”  

This short training session will take place on Tuesday 9 June, at 6pm for one hour. It will provide a brief overview of what to look out for before schools reopen in June. It is open to all members but may be of particular interest to school reps, activists, and H&S reps.

  • Duties, Responsibilities, and Entitlements of EIS reps, LA Secretaries and LNCT negotiators

  • Understanding risk assessments during Covid-19

  • Agreeing and implementing risk assessments

  • Identifying what to do if a risk assessment is not in place or adhered to

Webinar 2 is a General Secretary Update with a Q&A around the current situation.

This will take place on Thursday 11 June, at 6pm for one hour. Larry Flanagan will give a brief update and will then be available for members to ask questions.

The first 198 to register for either event  will enter the Webex Event to interface directly with the presenters. Other members can follow the events Live on the EIS Facebook. In order to do this, simply follow the link which will be provided on the Facebook page.

Save the Dates

Taking Pride in Teaching 20 Years since the Repeal of Section 28, Wednesday 17th June, 12-1pm.

Speakers: Jordan Daly (TIE Campaign) on championing LGBT inclusivity in schools, Marzanna Pogorelska (ZNP Polish Teachers Union) on the situation in Poland for LGBT rights, and more TBC.

Covid-19: Poverty, Education and Community, Thursday 18th June 2020, 5pm - 6.30pm 

Speakers: Professor John McKendrick (Professor in Social Justice, Glasgow Caledonian University; Joan Lennon (Teacher and South Lanarkshire EIS activist); and Kait Laughlin and Sandra Scott (EIS PACT Co-Leaders.)

Professor Andy Hargreaves on Covid 19 and Education

Andy Hargreaves, Research Professor in Education at Boston College, recently wrote an article for the SEJ entitled "What's next for Schools after Coronavirus, here are five big Issues and Opportunities." You can read his article here.

COVID 19 and BAME members

A bespoke risk assessment for BAME members, who may be more susceptible to illness from COVID 19, is being developed and will be issued shortly.

EIS Action Research Grants 2020 – Applications close 26th June

Applications are now open for the EIS Action Research Grants programme 2020-21.

EIS members can access £500 of funding to facilitate both learning and action and, in doing so, offer teaching professionals the opportunity for personal and professional development.

Researchers are further supported by regular peer-support meetings and guidance from academic partners to enhance their projects and wider professional learning.

EIS Action Researchers go on to present at conferences and events across Scotland and share their findings with the wider sector.