EIS President to use Keynote Speech to Highlight True Value of Teachers to Society

Created on: 06 Jun 2018 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023

The outgoing President will use her keynote address at the EIS Annual General Meeting at Dundee Caird Hall to highlight the true value of teachers to society.

Nicola Fisher, who concludes her year as President this week, will urge the Scottish Government and local authorities to demonstrate that they value education and value teachers by significantly improving teachers’ pay and by investing additional resources in schools.

Ms Fisher is expected to say, "Education is the glue which holds society together. Without education, there are no doctors. Without education, there are no nurses. Without education, there are no plumbers coming round to mend your burst pipes."

"We are the only profession which is inextricably linked to the continuation of all other jobs, all other workers, all other careers. If you value a health service, then you need to value education. If you value a system of justice, then you need to value education. If you value emergency services, then you need to value education. And if you value education then you need, quite urgently, to value teachers."

In addition to highlighting the impact of real-terms pay cuts on teacher morale and recruitment, Ms Fisher is expected to outline a range of other factors that are contributing to difficulties in recruiting and retaining teachers in Scotland's schools, "What we do to teachers in this country is ridiculous. We underpay teachers. We overwork them. We tell them, incorrectly, that they are part of a failing system."

"We tell them that what they are doing in the classroom is insufficiently 'excellent'. We cut budgets and constantly expect them to do more with less. And then we're surprised that 40% want to leave the profession."

"I'm actually surprised that figure isn't higher. Teachers have had enough of doing more with less and more for less. And when other countries and other careers pay more, is it any wonder that teachers are voting with their feet?".

Ms Fisher will deliver her speech at 1430hrs Thursday 7 June, during the opening session of the EIS AGM. A full transcript of Ms Fisher's speech will be available following its delivery to AGM.