EIS says Teachers must be Absolutely Central to reforms in Scottish Education System

Created on: 19 Apr 2023 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), has responded to recent comments by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Jenny Gilruth, and the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, in relation to Scottish Education.

Ms Gilruth published an open letter to Scotland’s teachers, outlining some of the priorities of the Scottish Government for Scottish Education. Mr Yousaf announced that the Scottish Government intended that Scotland would re-enter both the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, “The open letter from the Cabinet Secretary highlights the importance of education to Scotland, and the importance of teaching professionals to Scotland’s education system. The renewed focus on mitigating the impact of poverty on young people’s education and life chances is welcome, as is the commitment to addressing the increasing  severity of additional support needs of children and young people in our schools. To deliver on this commitment, the Scottish Government must provide additional core funding for Education. As the Cabinet Secretary acknowledges, learners and teachers must be at the heart of all planned education reform and must be given appropriate support and resources to allow them to play a full and active part in this ongoing process.”

Responding to the First Minister’s comments on TIMMS and PIRLS, Ms Bradley added, “In rejoining TIMMS and PIRLS, the challenge for the Cabinet Secretary will be to avoid the mistakes of the past, where a competitive, data-driven culture has been counter-productive. Indeed, the current reform of the Senior Phase is due in large part to the culture of performativity spawned by a limited focus on narrow attainment data as opposed to the real purposes of education.  The EIS acknowledges the value of data in supporting progress in learning – whether it is gathered locally, nationally or internationally – used in its proper context to inform learning and to assist educators in improving teaching and learning for all children and young people.  The EIS is clear, though, that performance data configured as ‘league tables’ does not support informed, rational educational debate in the genuine interests of learners. Rather, experience shows, it is often used to treat education as a political football. This is a scenario that should be avoided if we are to move forward collaboratively in the interests of quality education provision in Scotland.”