Statement on the Creation of a new Centre of Teaching Excellence – EIS comment

Created on: 17 Oct 2023

The EIS has responded to an announcement made by Education Secretary, Jenny Gilruth, during the SNP conference on plans to create a new Centre of Teaching Excellence.

Commenting, EIS Assistant Secretary, Anne Keenan said, "We read with interest the comments made by the Cabinet Secretary yesterday about the creation of a new Centre of Teaching Excellence, to support and empower teachers in the delivery of excellent teaching and learning.

"It was unfortunate that in seeking to promote empowerment, the Scottish government had not consulted the professional associations about these plans in advance or how they will interface with recommendations for Education Reform."

She added, "The Cabinet Secretary has referenced the importance which the new Centre will provide in closing the attainment gap and in delivering excellent learning and teaching for children and young people. Whilst such a body may offer additional and welcome advice and support on pedagogy for the profession, it will not address the impact of rampant and increasing poverty or of the chronic under-resourcing of ASN provision on children and young people in our schools."

"With 34% of pupils in Scotland with an identified additional support need, we need a long-term resourcing strategy – including action to reduce class sizes, reduce class contact time and to significantly enhance the availability of specialist ASN support and expertise within schools – if we are to meaningfully affect change and match the scale of the promise made to children, families and teachers almost two decades ago in the Education (Additional Support for Learning) Act."

Referencing the Scottish Government’s offer to co-create the body with teachers and the professional associations, Ms Keenan added, ‘The Cabinet Secretary took the decision to pause Education Reform earlier this year to ensure that a holistic approach could be taken.

"The EIS looks forward to engaging with the Scottish Government to learn more about their vision for this new body, its proposed governance and funding arrangements and how it will interface holistically with the recommendations which have emerged from the extensive education reviews conducted over the last four years.

"We are interested to learn how it will articulate with reform of the national bodies, particularly in relation to the creation of a new education support agency and how it will align with the work currently being delivered by Initial Teacher Education providers, in preparing our teachers of the future."