EIS President Bill Ramsay outlines the scale of the challenges that the COVID-19 will continue to present to Scottish education for a long time to come.

Bill Ramsay

We are facing the greatest level of disruption to Scottish education in the 173 year history of the EIS. A level of disruption even greater than that experienced during the Great War and World War II.

The shockwaves of this disruption are many only some of which have already become apparent. There will be other consequential impacts which in and of themselves may well be on the scale of an additional shockwave and some of these, in all probability have yet to be identified.

The EIS remains the voice of the vast majority of Scottish teachers and lecturers. Although our motto is “The Promotion of Sound Learning” all should understand that in the age of Covid 19 our prime concern will be issues of welfare.

Often the aspiration of “continuous improvement” in an age of austerity could be promoted with a straight face, but only just, “continuous improvement” like many other dictums has not survived first contact with Covid 19.

The “improvement plan” should be quietly, locked away in a cupboard until the reality of the lock down , complete or partial, is a memory. Planning for recovery will in and of itself be appropriate but as we move out and in all probability, back into lock down(s) some factors that inform the process may become irrelevant and new, heretofore unanticipated factors emerge.

The recovery of Scottish education will take longer than many think. The EIS, in common with our colleagues in the wider trade union movement, will promote the primacy of the welfare of teachers, their families and the students we teach and resist any calls to give primacy to economic advantage in any recovery calculus.

Bill Ramsay, EIS President