Created on: 25 Aug 2023 | Last modified: 09 Nov 2023
It’s a pleasure to welcome you back after the summer break. I hope that it was restful and allowed you to recharge your energies for the year ahead. As you know, we have launched our Stand Up for Quality Education campaign. The aim of the campaign is to significantly improve teachers’ working conditions, and health, safety and wellbeing at work and by so doing, the quality of educational experiences for learners.
Focussing on 3 key priority areas the campaign will aim to:
Ensure a significant reduction in teacher workload,
Ensure an increase in funding and support for pupils with additional support needs,
Build the skills, resources and school culture to address distressed, violent and aggressive pupil behaviour.
Nationally, we will be focussing on the Pupil Behaviour theme and this will include attending the Scottish Government’s Summit on tackling violence in schools in September. Resources were sent out to schools before the summer, and we would encourage you to display these in your establishment. I look forward to working together with you as Reps throughout the year ahead in the interests of both our members and the children, young people and adult learners that you teach, across a range of fronts.
I wish you all the very best for the year ahead and hope to meet some of you in the course of the session as we Stand Up for Quality Education.
School Reps were recently sent a weblink to a Branch survey on pupil behaviour. In any campaign, collecting and citing evidence is crucial. We need as much data as possible from Branches, and I urge all Branches to complete and submit the Pupil Behaviour survey– even if your Local Association subsequently campaigns on a different element of the Stand Up for Quality Education campaign.
The deadline for completing and submitting the online Branch survey on pupil behaviour is Friday 15th September 2023.
Action for Reps: Please organise a Branch meeting to discuss and complete the survey.
We have a team of eight Organisers to support Local Associations, Branches and Reps. Our Organisers can support local campaigning, school issues, provide training, branch-building advice and brief members on our latest national campaign – Stand Up for Quality Education.
Action for Reps: If you would like an Organiser to support you or your Branch in an in-person or online meeting, then please contact your Organiser.
EIS-FELA colleagues continue to be in several disputes with college employers. The national dispute over a fair cost of living pay rise for 2022-23 is on-going, with the current industrial action consisting of Action Short of Strike action of withholding marks and work to contract. FELA also has a strike mandate for this dispute.
EIS-FELA colleagues at City of Glasgow College and Edinburgh College are also carrying out industrial actions in separate disputes fighting compulsory redundancies at their colleges and will continue to take strike action and action short of strike action (as applicable) as this academic year commences.
Action for Reps: Please support EIS-FELA colleagues by sending messages of solidarity via Stuart Brown and following @EISFela on X (formerly known as Twitter).
GMB has announced that members in 10 local authority areas will be on strike on 13th and 14th September. EIS advice will be issued to members in the affected council areas soon. In the meantime, EIS Reps should be aware that the EIS is clear that our members should not be asked to carry out any of the duties of striking staff. Nor should they be asked to deliver online learning from home in the event that schools are closed as a result of strike action by colleagues.
Action for Reps: Please keep this advice in mind in any discussions related to planning around strike days and await further specific advice.
Hutchesons’ Grammar School EIS Branch remains in dispute with the school over withdrawal from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. The Branch has upcoming strike action planned on August 28, 29, 30 and 31 2023.
Action for Reps: Please support HGS by sending messages of solidarity via Dee Matthew.
Some independent schools choose not to recognise trade unions, despite high levels of union membership. Building on the success of teachers at Hutchesons’ Grammar in winning union recognition, the EIS will continue to push for recognition and representation to ensure that our members are treated fairly and are aware of their rights.
Action for Reps: If you and your colleagues wish to get your EIS Branch recognised by your independent school then please contact your nearest Area Office in Dundee, Edinburgh or Glasgow. You will be put in contact with the relevant Area Officer for the local authority area in which you work. More information is available is the EIS website.
If you have new colleagues who are EIS members, they should update their school base or personal contact details on the MyEIS section of the website as a matter of priority. Remind them to log on using their EIS number. It is quick and simple to set up a password. Alternatively, as a Rep, you should have access to member lists for your establishment and you can update details on their behalf.
Action for Reps: Visit www.eis.org.uk/Account/EISLogin to update member details.
Recruitment is key for all trade unions including the EIS.
The 2023/24 cohort of probationer teachers will have joined/ will be joining your school when the new school year commenced/s. Please approach all new probationers to ask them if they would like to join the EIS. Membership is free until December 2024. If the probationer joined the EIS as a student teacher, then they have automatically become full EIS members - update their school base or personal contact details on the MyEIS section of the website.
Please approach all new staff, to check if they are an EIS member and recruit any teacher who is not a trade union member. If they are already EIS members, then they will also need to update their school details on the MyEIS section of the website.
Action for Reps: Approach all new teaching and probationer staff as soon as possible to check if they are EIS members and ask them to join the EIS online, if they are not already a member, or to update their details if they are already members. Please also put up the EIS posters sent to all schools in late June on school noticeboards.
An EIS Calendar is included with this bulletin featuring images from the Pay Attention pay campaign. The calendar is a reminder of last year’s successful collective action and the spirit of solidarity that won us the pay award. This is the same spirit we will need to inspire us and encourage us to work together for the Stand Up for Quality Education campaign!
Action for Reps: Please display the calendar in your establishment.
The EIS is committed to the highest standards of education, rooted in rights, equality and inclusivity. The EIS’s overarching position is that pupils and students have the right to learn, and teachers and lecturers have the right to work, in an educational environment that is free from discrimination, where the rights of all are equally upheld.
The guidance included with this bulletin offers advice for EIS members on how we can play our part by helping to create safe, supportive and inclusive educational settings, which allow everyone to thrive.
Action for Reps: Please make members aware of the Taking Pride in Teaching guidance.
The Gwen Mayor Memorial Trust was established in March 1996 following the tragic events in Dunblane Primary School when the teacher, Gwen Mayor, lost her life along with 16 pupils of the school.
The purpose of the Trust is “to advance education by providing financial support for projects in connection with the arts, culture, music or sport submitted to the Trustees”.
Applications are now invited from primary schools and departments in Scotland. Proposed projects should fall within the purpose of the fund as set out above. Requests for full or partial funding of projects will be considered.
The EIS is excited to announce a new two-year project which aims to grow the leadership and improve the representation of BAME, LGBT, disabled, neurodivergent and young members within their own workplaces, and within the Union. The first year of the project will be a hybrid (part online, part in-person) leadership course with 5 Modules organised around three themes: Fair Work, Leadership and Equality. The second year will provide opportunities for participants to put their leadership skills into practice.
It is expected that the course will run from October 2023 to February 2024. The course is open to:
The course is free, costs associated with in-person attendance will be covered by the EIS, and accessibility adjustments will be made where possible. Priority will be given to members who can commit to all sessions and a selection may be made to achieve a demographic balance.
To indicate your interest and receive further information about the course, including how to apply, visit www.eis.org.uk/equality/voicesinunion
Action for Reps: Please share with all members.
Is your Local Association or college branch in need of a Learning Rep? Do you have newly engaged activists eager to take up a role which supports members locally and nationally?
EIS Learning Reps work with members locally to support them on professional learning issues, ensure access to high quality training opportunities, and take forward the professional learning agenda in the workplace. Members receive thorough training for this role through a specialist EIS Learning Reps training course, designed to prepare new Learning Reps for leadership on professional learning in Scotland. Learning Reps also work within their Local Association or college branch to strengthen organisation and campaigning on issues which matter to members, informed by a trade union perspective on career-long professional learning.
Action for Reps: To find more information about the Learning Reps course, and to register a member’s interest, please visit the Reps section of the EIS website or contact Rob Henthorn for more information.
Please note: Members already enrolled on the 2022-23 Learning Reps course need not re-apply.
The EIS is committed to providing all members with high quality professional learning opportunities that support career-long professional development. Members interested in attending courses, should contact Rob Henthorn (email@example.com) or Pauline McColgan (firstname.lastname@example.org), EIS Professional Learning Coordinators, to register interest.
Alongside the full range of professional learning opportunities available to EIS members, there are some webinars and courses funded specifically for those who live and work in the Highlands and Islands, and Argyll and Bute areas.
These specialised funded courses include:
• Introduction to Understanding Neurodiversity, Dyslexia Scotland – 6th September (online).
• Exploring Controversial Issues, Highland One World – 6th and 13th September (online).
• Reflecting on Whole School Approaches, Open University – 19th and 26th September (online).
• Maths in Action, Maths on Toast – 30th September (workshop in Inverness, location tbc).
Action for Reps: Please advise interested members in your establishment to visit the Professional Learning section of the EIS website for upcoming opportunities.
It is important for School Reps to engage with their Local Associations in order for information and views to be shared to Local Association Secretaries and EIS staff who attend LA meetings, and for information to get from the LA into schools. Please keep in contact with your Local Association Secretary and your Local Association Committee of Management/Executive Committee.
Action for Reps: Contact your Local Association Secretary to find out what meetings and events they are running over the coming months and how to get involved.