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Welcome to SEJ Digital October 2020


COVID Struggle Continues Across Scottish Education

The struggle against the COVID pandemic continues in all parts of society, with education facing many challenges in keeping staff and learners safe and ensuring a sound environment for learning and teaching.

Teaching staff have been under great pressure throughout the pandemic. The lockdown period threw teachers and learners into an extremely challenging situation, with new methods of delivery requiring to be developed at extremely short notice.

The very late change announced by the Scottish Government – that schools would re-open on a full time basis after the summer – compelled teachers to abandon weeks of planning on blended learning models and scramble to re-plan for a completely different approach with only a few days to prepare.

The evidence from the national EIS survey is that the overwhelming majority of teachers supported the re-opening of schools – but they also wanted this to be done in a way that mitigated the threat of potential COVID infection spreading.

A great deal of work has been undertaken, locally and nationally, by EIS Representatives to ensure that local authorities are taking the required steps to keep staff and students safe. Disputes were declared in two local authority areas where sufficient mitigations had not been put in place, leading to those councils taking action to improve school safety measures.

Issues remain over many aspects of current mitigations – including over the lack of physical distancing in many schools, lack of adequate protections for teachers who were previously shielding, concerns over ventilation and heating in classrooms, and serious questions over some councils’ attitudes to ensuring the safety of pregnant teachers.

As we highlight in the Council News report in this edition, the EIS is continuing to pursue all of these, and more, issues with the Scottish Government and local authorities. Many concerns are being resolved at a local level, with school branches and EIS Local Associations taking the lead, while the EIS main body continues to push for proper protections at a national level.

Supporting education recovery for young people continues to be a key issue too, as we explore in this edition’s features on Education Recovery, Pedagogy and the Curriculum and on the future of assessment and qualifications in the COVID world and beyond.

COVID-19 looks likely to be with us for the rest of the year, and well into 2021. It will continue to dominate education, and the work of the EIS, for many months to come. As ever, the main focus of the institute will continue to be protecting Scotland’s teaching professionals, and the best interests of Scottish education.

Also in this Edition

How Do We Gain Digital Skills to Best Use E-Pedagogy?

E-pedagogy encompasses teaching that uses digital information and communication technologies.  It is important to keep in mind that teaching online...

Challenging Inequality in Challenging Times

This year’s Trade Union Congress was held virtually, primarily to comply with COVID-19 regulations. While the move to an online...

50th anniversary of a trailblazing teacher

Saroj Lal, 1937-2020 Saroj Lal was one of Scotland’s first Asian primary school teachers and a pioneer in the field...

Join the EIS PACT against Poverty

The ground-breaking EIS PACT Project grew out of discussions at the 2017 International Summit on the Teaching Profession. As a...

Lecturing Jobs threatened at Argyll College

Argyll College has announced that part time lecturing staff are at risk of compulsory redundancy. The reason given by College...

The Power of Teaching about the Holocaust 

It is now over 75 years since the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps which saw the genocide of 6...

Black Lives Matter in Education

Responding to the growing calls for anti-racist activism, the EIS has planned a series of webinars to look critically at...

News

Clarity on Exams is Welcome, Though Overdue

Clarity on Exams is Welcome, Though Overdue

Just as this SEJ was being finalised, the Deputy First Minister announced in Parliament that next year’s National 5 exams...

Letter to Scottish Education Spokespersons

Letter to Scottish Education Spokespersons

The EIS recently wrote to all Scottish education spokespersons, including the Deputy First Minister, to highlight its serious concerns over...

Some Scottish Councils Failing in Duty of Care on Teachers’ Risk Assessments

Some Scottish Councils Failing in Duty of Care on Teachers’ Risk Assessments

A number of local authorities across Scotland are failing in their duty of care to their teacher employees with regard...

College Lecturers vote to Accept pay Offer

College Lecturers vote to Accept pay Offer

College lecturer members have voted to accept a pay offer from college employers for 2020-2021. The offer, based on a...

EIS Education Committee Reflects Teacher & Student Anger over Qualifications Debacle

EIS Education Committee Reflects Teacher & Student Anger over Qualifications Debacle

The first meeting of the EIS Education Committee for the new school session heard testimony from teachers across Scotland, angered...

Survey of Union Reps Highlights Work Still to be done on School COVID Safety

Survey of Union Reps Highlights Work Still to be done on School COVID Safety

A survey of union Reps in schools has confirmed that there is still a considerable amount of work to be...

It’s wrong to blame students for rise in COVID cases in Universities

It’s wrong to blame students for rise in COVID cases in Universities

Following the significant outbreaks of Covid19 on University campuses in Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland University Lecturers’ Association expresses...

91% support for industrial action at Forth Valley College 

91% support for industrial action at Forth Valley College 

EIS members at Forth Valley College have concluded a consultative ballot for industrial action, with 91% of members voting for...

Regulars

Scottish Educational Journal

Vol 104 / Issue no. 05/ October 2020

Pages