Workload Campaign 2014

Created on: 25 Jan 2018 | Last modified: 31 Jul 2023


1. Initial discussion around developing a workload campaign arose from consideration by the Executive Committee of the pensions ballot result and in the context of growing evidence, eg the CfE Senior Phase survey, that workload was becoming a significant area of concern for members.

2. Notwithstanding the possibility of other issues becoming centre stage, for example SNCT matters, Executive Committee, and subsequently Council, clearly felt that there was considerable merit in focussing on workload issues and especially at looking to a strategy based on the potential for escalating action over the course of a Such action would also provide a context for other on-going discussions.

3. The aim of the campaign has been clearly articulated – to achieve a real- term reduction in the workload burden of members; this requires agreement at a political level and a mechanism for implementation.

4. Key drivers for agitation and action were evident in the two CfE surveys: eg the introduction of National 4 and 5; CfE bureaucracy; reporting and assessment. These remain high tariff developments for local authorities and Government and therefore present the possibility of some leverage being gained in terms of our campaign.

5. As a first stage initial advice was issued to schools in May 2013 given that Working Time Agreements were being negotiated at that time and School Action plans being revisited.

6. Executive Committee recognised that to secure progress in this campaign we would need to validate the concerns of members and to have politicians, local and national, accept the need of action. Whilst there has been some recognition at a national political level, and to a degree also in the shape of Education Scotland, it would be rash to assume that COSLA/ADES will simply fall into step. It is worth noting many of the practices which give rise to concerns from members are driven at this local level.

7. It was recognised, therefore, that there was a need to continue to develop the evidence base for our campaign.

8. Central to all of the above was the need to for the campaign to act as a catalyst to members exercising their collective trade union and professional voice. Collective action, rather than individual, should be the hallmark of our activity, thereby preventing members becoming isolated in their workplace and at the same time supporting heightened levels of activism in the branches.


9. Workload was the topic of two major composites at AGM (see Appendix A) as well as a focus of the Cabinet Secretary’s speech with his, helpful, announcement of a working group to look at bureaucracy around CfE. The terms of those debates provide a useful framework for post AGM action.

10. Further publicity was issued to schools in June making use of the Cabinet Secretary’s AGM speech.

11. Prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement, Executive Committee had considered one potential avenue for securing progress as being through seeking over-arching workload agreements at LNCT level, with the SNCT having an The nature of such agreements would need to be specific in terms of practice at school/authority level eg identifying initiatives/operations which contributed additional workload and detailing actions to limit/prevent such.

12. Notwithstanding our participation in the CfE Tackling Bureaucracy Working Group the SNCT/LNCT agreement route may still hold out possibilities re ensuring a mechanism for future monitoring of any agreed proposals. An SNCT Working Group on workload already exists and its findings will be brought to the full SNCT in due course. 

13. The following action points were approved by Executive Committee in June:

  • a formal written follow up to the Cabinet Secretary’s statement be issued, including agreement in principle to participate in a working group and seeking further details of how such a group might operate 

  • development of campaign materials, branding and messages, over the summer period and specifically including the production of leaflet and poster utilising quotations from the Cabinet Secretary around workload issues for issue to schools in August 

  • collection and collation of evidence of workload concerns/practices for use in either a special SEJ or a separate publication such as that used for CfE bulletins 

  • Local Association Secretaries’ training/briefing on objectives and tacticsof the campaign to be organised 

  • processing and articulation of the detail of the AGM resolutions as part of the campaign strategy 

  • potential use of a series of regional meetings to brief school reps on objectives and tactics of the campaign 

  • collation and review of existing LNCT workload agreements re efficacy 

  • separate strategy paper to be produced on the potential use of industrial action: action short of strike/work to contract/strike action


14. The first three points of the above have been overtaken and the fourth is in hand; the remainder continue to be under consideration.

15. It was agreed, also, at Executive Committee, that break-out sessions at Council be used to develop ideas around the campaign strategy. 

16. The workload campaign has been profiled on the website and in communications to members such as the Bulletin. Campaign material has been produced utilising the slogans Make Time for Teaching and Act Now … with posters being issued to schools this week.

17. Within the Communications Department consideration has been given to the production of a PowerPoint to assist in branch based meetings discussions, the commissioning of a video production to support the campaign, the issuing of specific advice notes on targeted areas such as Forward Planning, WTAs, Reporting, developing specific supportive advice to members in leadership posts, and the purchase of campaign branded materials.

18. Other relevant developments are the work of the Cabinet Secretary’s Working Group on tackling CFE Bureaucracy, which has met twice and is due to meet once more before issuing advice to schools. There will be scope for EIS advice being issued based on the messages coming from the Also there is work within the SNCT with a sub group looking at workload issues. Both the SNCT and, potentially more significantly, LNCTs will be important areas for contesting workload issues and seeking agreements.

Next Steps

19. Executive Committee is asked to decide on the next steps in the campaign. 

20. Specific proposals for consideration are:

  • prepare a series of leaflets around the CfE Working Group messages;

  • issue ‘hard’ advice around contractual obligations; use of WTAs; School Improvement plans;

  • profile the significant workload issues around SQA arrangements for the new qualifications;

  • support local association engagement on workload issues - for example, use of CfE Working Group messages to secure workload agreements at LNCT level;

  • develop a PP presentation for use in school meetings, with a particular focus on collective ‘action’;

  • in conjunction with Local Associations, plan a series of ‘rep’ meetings/road- show events for post-Christmas period;

  • agree commission of video material;

  • seek relevant material from ULA and FELA re profiling specific sectoral concerns as part of the campaign;

  • publicise work of SNCT Working Group.

21. In addition, it is suggested that detailed aspects of the AGM resolutions might be processed as indicated in Appendix Approval is sought for this disposal.

Appendix A 

AGM resolutions

Motion 35: This AGM instructs Council to launch a campaign on workload reduction. This campaign should:-

(a) include a survey of members’ workload;

Action - prepare survey monkey for use through website


(b) highlight the increased workload associated with developments within a Curriculum for Excellence including the introduction of internal assessment as part of the new National Qualifications;

Action - include in campaign activities and Education Committee to consider


(c) focus on the impact of work/life balance and health/well-being issues;

Action - include in campaign activities; terms of a survey being considered separately by Executive


(d) publicise and promote agreements on Working Time Arrangements to reduce workload;

Action - include in all campaign activities


(e) seek additional effective measures to reduce workload caused by additional planning, monitoring, auditing, profiling and new reporting formats such as e-profiling and On Track with Learning (OTWL);

Action - include in all campaign activities and raise though working group and, explore SNCT/LNCT locus


(f) publicise the campaign through a variety of media and in a variety of fora, including open meetings;

Action - process though communications; ‘road-show’ proposal


(g) include a review of the workload implications for teachers in Local Authorities which have introduced Faculty Structures;

Action - survey and then refer findings to LNCTs


(h) investigate the impact on teacher workload of the use of electronic management

Action - survey through local associations


Motion 3: This AGM instructs Council to:

(a) campaign for increased, ring-fenced, funding for Curriculum for Excellence programmes, at all levels 3-18, from Scottish Government both in terms of providing adequate resources and supporting the necessary CPD arrangements;

Action - include in all campaign activities and dialogue with SG


(b) address the issue of excessive workloads associated with the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence programmes (including internal assessments in the new National Qualifications)

Action - subsume into campaign messages and materials


(c) seek agreement from Local Authorities and Scotland’s Colleges that appropriate arrangements are put in place in order that all teachers and lecturers have access to appropriate high-quality CPD opportunities;

Action - Education Committee to include in activities; raise through NIB


(d) continue to raise pre-5 and primary members’ concerns regarding the excessive and growing bureaucracy surrounding daily and weekly forward plans with the Curriculum for Excellence Implementation Group and Education Scotland;

Action - include in campaign materials; raise in Working Group


(e) continue to demand high quality course materials and National Qualifications exemplification to support the implementation of the Senior Phase;

Action - Education Committee to process


(f) advise all members to resist any planning, tracking and evaluating formats which seek to cover every individual experience and outcome;

Action - include in campaign advice and raise through Working Group


(g) inform members of the contractual position of teachers with regard to the workload implications involved in implementing the new National Qualifications;

Action - include in campaign activities


(h) engage with SQA to limit teacher and lecturers workload associated with moderation procedures of the new National Unit Assessments and added value

Action - Education Committee to raise with SQA


Workload Campaign 2014 Policy PDF