Secretary's Weekly Update - 14 May 2019
Dear EIS Member
I hope you are well and had a good weekend. A few quick updates for you:
Hopefully everyone has now read the information about when CEC will be processing our pay award. If not, you can find the key information here https://tinyurl.com/y4cxwgav.
Different Local Authorities are making different arrangements - if you moved to Edinburgh after April 2018, you may need to contact your previous employer to claim back pay. Here in the office we have details relating to some LAs, and you can drop us an email to check. Alternatively, speak to people in your old school to see what they say.
If you have friends who left CEC after April 2018, do please give them the link above, so that they can check the Edinburgh arrangements regarding back pay.
Value Education, Value Teachers
The success of our pay campaign does not mean that the Value Education, Value Teachers campaign is over - far from it. It alone will not solve the recruitment and retention crisis, nor the epidemic of work-related stress sweeping through classrooms across Scotland. We all know that the many worthy goals being set for Scottish education, from challenging gender-based discrimination to closing the poverty-related attainment gap, are utterly unachievable if teachers are too tired or too demoralised to deliver on them - or if they simply aren’t there…. Thus, the EIS’s campaigning work, at school, local and national level, will be continuing. We won on pay because members were engaged and involved - we will win on other issues if we build on that engagement.
Negotiations for your school’s 2019-20 WTA should be well underway. I’ve been sending out more detailed guidance to reps - if you are in one of the (fortunately very few) schools that does not have an EIS rep, do get in touch directly and we will try to offer support. There is universal agreement that excessive teacher workload (and that includes headteacher workload) is having a major negative impact on Scottish education - properly negotiated and agreed school WTAs and calendars are one of the ways we can begin to change this.
Violence at Work
We continue to raise the issue of violence at work in a whole range of forums. It is vital that every teacher in every school is clear about protocols to follow when there is a violent incident. Preventing violence is even more important - many schools will be looking to make this a major focus of their SQIPs.
We will be resurveying members in the new session, to establish a clear picture of where improvements have occurred, and what still needs to be done. In the meantime, though, do get in touch if you have concerns.
Many teachers cite not being able to properly help children with additional support needs as their biggest frustration - and it is certainly the biggest cause of violence in schools. When thinking about approaches in your school, you might want to look at the EIS’s new report on ASN - see https://tinyurl.com/y2mfmcez.
Additional Pensions Meeting
Our meeting with EIS pensions expert Stephen Stewart on 31st May is now full. We have organised another meeting for 4pm on Thursday 20th June, please email email@example.com if you would like to attend.
We will also be organising further meetings in the new term - you can also contact EIS Financial Services for individual advice on a range of issues, including retirement planning, and they are happy to come out to speak to either individuals or groups (why not organise a meeting in your school?). You can find more information here: https://www.eis.org.uk/Member-Support/Financial-Services.
Have a good week, and I hope you get a chance to enjoy the sunshine.
Secretary's Weekly Update - 3 May 2019 - Pay Award
Dear EIS Member
You should all have received information directly from CEC regarding how the pay award will be implemented. If you missed it for any reason, you can find it here Pay Award 2019 and here guidelines.
If you, or anyone you know, has left the Council between April 2018 and now, you really must note the following:
All back pay will be made to the bank account we hold for each leaver. If bank details have changed, former employees should contact askHR on 0131 469 5555 by 7 May 2019 to change bank details. Ensure you have your employee number and bank account number and sort code to hand when you contact us.
If you have come to Edinburgh from another local authority, you will need to contact them to find out what arrangements they are making.
Enjoy the long weekend!
Secretary's Weekly Update - 25 April 2019
Dear EIS Member
I hope you had a great Easter break, and that the return to work hasn’t been too traumatic. The following are a few quick updates:
The WTA for 2019-20 has been signed off. You can find it here https://www.eis.org.uk/Edinburgh/Workingtimeagreement2019 . Evaluations of last year’s agreement should have happened, and schools should now be thinking about next year. If you require any advice or support around this, just get in touch.
The formal sign off for the pay deal by COSLA should be happening this week (it may have happened by the time you read this). We should then be in a better position to know exactly when Edinburgh will process matters. I know some members are concerned about the implications of a large lump sum – until we have more detail, we can’t really answer specific questions, but if you go to https://www.eis.org.uk/Value-Education-Value-Teachers/FAQs you should get an idea of some of the common issues.
I’ve also had a few people ask about recent CEC communications about pay awards being made in April – these are for staff, other than teachers, whose pay claims were settled quite a while before ours.
CEC has also brought out guidance for people who are in receipt of Universal Credit, and who might be negatively impacted by a large back payment. You can find that here: https://tinyurl.com/y3p28sgv
And now news of some upcoming events that might be of interest…
Sunday 28th April 1pm in Princes Street Gardens – International Workers’ Memorial Day
If you are in town on Sunday, come along to Princes Street Gardens at 1pm (west side of the Mound, lowest path) where there will be a ceremony commemorating workers who have died, and asking for safe working conditions for all. This will include a short speech by me, talking about our Violence at Work campaign.
Saturday 11th May 3.30pm, Odeon Lothian Rd – Screening of H is for Harry
H is for Harry is a coming of age story about Harry, a charismatic 11-year old boy, who arrives at secondary school in suburban London unable to read or write. With the help of Sophie, his extremely dedicated teacher, can he overcome the illiteracy ingrained across generations of his family? Against the backdrop of a Britain riven with debates around class, identity and social mobility, the film follows Harry over two years as he fights not only to improve academically but also to believe in a different future for himself.
You can click on this link https://www.ourscreen.com/screening/48204 to book your ticket. This screening has been organised by one of our Equality Reps, Nikhat Yusef, and she became interested in it after reading this article https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/mar/03/literacy-white-working-class-boys-h-is-for-harry. Please support her – as well as being an interesting film, if enough people buy tickets then there will be a donation made to MacMillan Cancer Research.
Pride Edinburgh - Saturday 22 June 2019
We don’t have many details yet, but the EIS will be supporting this, and running a stall. If you’d like to be involved, either by carrying our banner/flags, or by helping at the stall, please get in touch. There should be some more information here: http://prideedinburgh.org.uk/
All the best
Secretary's Weekly Update - 1 April 2019
Dear EIS Member
I hope you had a good weekend and are looking forward to the holidays.
You will, I am sure, have seen the news that COSLA have agreed to support the Scottish Government’s pay proposal. This is an enormous victory for us in our continuing campaign to ValueEducationValueTeachers. It has only happened because members have stayed engaged and involved all the way through. To every single one of you who voted, or tweeted, or attended meetings, or marched, or spoke about our campaign, or did anything else to show that we, as a union, are serious about making a real difference – THANK YOU!
There are still a few national procedures that have to be followed before a formal offer can be made and accepted. Once these are completed, the much more complicated matter of getting everything sorted with payroll will begin. We’ll keep you updated, but I suspect it will be June when we actually see increased money in our pay packets.
As the EIS has continually reiterated, this pay award is only one part of a much wider campaign to address the deterioration in our working conditions. John Swinney’s letter contained several suggestions to begin to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Scottish Education – now that the pay deal is settled, negotiations around the details of these will begin in earnest.
Locally, too, we will be keeping up the pressure on workload, ASN and Violence. CEC has repeatedly emphasised its commitment to reducing teacher workload and violent incidents. Schools will already be thinking about SQUPs and WTAs, and these will be worked on in detail after the holiday. It is essential that tackling workload, ensuring everyone is clear about violence reporting procedures, and thinking about ASN provision, is central to these discussions. After all, if we are overworked, stressed or ill and absent due to unsustainable demands, we can’t deliver on other priorities, and the excellent teaching needed to really make a difference for children won’t happen. If you need any help in evaluating current WTAs, negotiating next year’s agreement, or looking at how you tackle violent incidents in your school, get in touch.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment is an issue in schools as well as in wider society. The EIS has brought out new guidance on tackling this – go to https://www.eis.org.uk/Gender-Equality/TacklingSexualHarassment to see what can be done.
I hope you have a good week. Only 4 more sleeps before the holidays!
Secretary's Weekly Update - 25 March 2019
Dear EIS Member
I hope you had a good weekend and are getting a chance to enjoy the spring sunshine.
The consultative ballot on the pay proposal closes at noon on Wednesday. It is really important that the result reflects the views of the whole membership - and that we maintain our current amazing levels of member engagement, so that we are in a strong position to take forward all the other campaigns we need to work on. So, if you haven’t voted, please do so. If you have, please remind everyone else to do the same.
Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Pupils
The 2018 National AGM passed a resolution calling for advice on supporting transgender and non-binary learners to be disseminated to L.A. secretaries, and for training on these matters to be arranged. The EIS is in ongoing discussions with partner organisations about organising training. In the meantime, the Equalities Committee would commend to you the comprehensive advice from LGBT Youth Scotland. More information is on the EIS website:
National EIS AGM
We still have a few places available for Edinburgh delegates to the National EIS AGM. This is an amazing opportunity to shape EIS policy, as well as to meet with and learn from other members from around the country. This year’s AGM is 6th-8th June, in Perth. All expenses are covered and there is a national agreement that cover is provided for delegates. If you are interested in attending, contact the office and we will send you a form.
Remember that the EIS provides a range of different types of member support. This includes a legal helpline offering advice on issues other than those relating to employment (you need to contact this office regarding employment issues). The number is 0333 400 5778 and it is open 5 days a week from 8am - 7pm. There is also insurance cover for different types of accident, damage, theft or injury, especially if it happens whilst at work. You can get more details here https://www.eis.org.uk/Member-Support/Insurance.
Have a good week.
Secretary's Weekly Update - 18 March 2019
Dear EIS Member
I hope you are well and enjoyed the weekend.
The ballot on John Swinney's pay proposal closes on 27th March. It is really important that all members think about what is in the offer, discuss it with fellow members and then vote. We've had amazing turnouts in our previous ballots - it would be great to beat our previous record and show that members continue to be engaged with the union. In Edinburgh, that means over 85% of you voting. The EIS is recommending you vote accept, and you can find out why here https://www.eis.org.uk/Campaigns/ValueTeachers. If you haven't received your ballot, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Violence at Work
This continues to be a top priority for the Local Association. Hopefully the vast majority of members are now clear about what they need to do if they are subject to violence at work (do, please, get in touch with this office as a matter of urgency if that is not the case). We now need to focus more on how to prevent such incidents. I am keen to hear about good practice in schools - particularly anything you may have done in the last few months that is beginning to result in improvements. I also need to know about the support headteachers are being given by CEC - again, both examples of what is going well, and what needs to improve.
HR has provided the following clarification around the new sickness absence policy:
'You need to contact your manager on each day of your absence for the first seven working days, to give them an update on when you might be able to return to work, unless you have been signed off or incapacitated, for example in hospital'. On that basis, if you have a sick line at the start of the absence, there is no need to make contact daily. The reference to 7 working days recognises that we have employees working across 7 days. In terms of the statutory requirement, employees are required to provide a sick line after 7 days have passed (that definition includes weekends).
Support for other EIS members
We have received the following from another Local Association:
Please sign the petition EIS activists in Dumfries and Galloway have set up. We are facing 40fte equivalent cuts in teacher posts. This means there will be no qualified teachers in nurseries, primary pupils will have no teachers on a Friday afternoon and the secondary timetable will become unreasonable.
Stand Up to Racism
The terrible events in Christchurch are yet another reminder of why it is so important that we all stand up to racism and discrimination in all its awful forms. There are many things we can do as individuals and as a union. The EIS has produced some excellent resources to support members - one you might want to have a look at is https://www.eis.org.uk/Policy-And-Publications/MythsofImmigration. Edinburgh is fortunate to have several trained equality reps - they can help with individual queries around equality issues, and with setting up projects. Email this office and we can put you in touch with them. Also, this Saturday, Unite Against Fascism will be holding a counter-protest against the far right, racist Scottish Defence League, and the EIS will be supporting this. We'll be gathering at 12.30pm at East Market Street, opposite Waverley Station, with speakers from 1pm. Please come along and show your support.
Have a good week.
Secretary's Weekly Update - 11 March 2019
Dear EIS Member
In the last few weeks we have had two really significant victories, one local and one national, and both are a direct result of EIS campaigning work. Last month, Edinburgh Council pulled its proposal to cut nursery teachers and headteachers because of our campaign showing the value of teachers in early years. On Friday, Scottish Government tabled an improved pay proposal in direct response to the EIS rejection of the previous offer and our threat to strike.
As you’ll know, EIS Council is recommending that members vote to accept this new pay proposal. You can find reasons why we are making this recommendation, and details of the offer, here https://www.eis.org.uk/Campaigns/ValueTeachers. As has been the case all the way along, the final decision rests with members - the consultative ballot will open today (see https://www.eis.org.uk/Value-Education-Value-Teachers/HowtoVote) and closes on 22nd March. The tight deadline is because a formal offer can only be made by COSLA, and they meet on 22nd, so we need the member decision by then. Please read the details of the proposal (which includes measures that have the potential to tackle issues around workload, ASN etc. as well as pay) carefully, discuss and debate with fellow members, and then VOTE*. The reason we have got to this stage is because, all the way along, members have been so engaged with the campaign - from the 30.000+ turnout for the demo, to the 74% and 81% turnouts in the our consultative ballots, to the many branch meetings, letters, emails, tweets and postcards that have persuaded Scottish Government and COSLA that we really are serious about reversing the decline in our pay and conditions. We should end this stage of our campaign on an equally high turnout.
Of course, there is far more to do. We haven’t fully restored our pay to the levels before 2010, and we have huge work to do around workload, stress, violence, ASN etc. We need to take everything we have learned in our pay campaign about working collectively as a union and apply it to these other issues. Today, however, members should take a moment to take pride in the success we have had, and realise that, when we work together, we CAN win.
Once again, thank you!
*If you think it would be helpful to have a meeting at your school to discuss this offer, please get in touch with the office ASAP, and we will see if we can set something up.
Secretary's Weekly Update - 4 March 2019
Dear EIS Member
I hope you enjoyed the weekend.
Statutory ballot papers will be posted out next week. It is vital we get an excellent turnout, and a strong majority in favour of strike action. This means everyone needs to have an up to date home address registered with the EIS. If you did not receive a ballot paper to vote in the election for EIS Vice-President, it means we do not have your correct home address!!! You can either update this yourself by logging on to www.eis.org.uk, or email this office and we will help (and do, please, vote in the Vice-Presidential election, too).
You’ll find many of the answers to questions about the strike process here: https://www.eis.org.uk/FAQs/StrikeFAQs . Get in touch if you have other questions.
LA AGM - This Wednesday 5-7pm
Please come along to the LA AGM at Broughton High School. This will be your chance to hear the latest about the pay campaign, about our Violence at Work campaign, and about other key local and national issues. You will also have a chance to debate and vote on motions put forward by members - you’ll find them all here: https://www.eis.org.uk/Edinburgh/LAAGM. The meeting is 5-7pm, but if you arrive earlier there will be a chance to talk to LA Office Bearers, our EIS organiser, Eilidh Porrelli, and fellow members. Please register in advance, if you are thinking of coming, to help us with planning - just click here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/edinburgh-eis-local-agm-tickets-57404328893
Stand Up to Racism March and Rally Saturday 16th March, Glasgow
This is part of the UN Anti-Racism Day actions happening across the globe. The EIS has a long and proud tradition of supporting this event and is providing a free bus through to Glasgow. This will be leaving from Waterloo Place at 9.30am. If you want to reserve a place, email email@example.com. It would be great if lots of people were waving Edinburgh EIS flags, or even carrying the LA banner. If you are planning on going and would be willing to do this, please contact the office.
Have a good week, and I hope I’ll see you on Wednesday.