Curriculum resources for New Scots

Inverclyde Local Association

“That this AGM reaffirms the Institute’s welcome to New Scots in our Early Years, Primary, Secondary, ASN, HE and FE sectors and calls on Council to investigate and report on curriculum resourcing that allows New Scots to celebrate their first culture in the same way that Scots is celebrated through CfE.”

In moving this motion, incoming President, Paula McEwan (Inverclyde) argued that all learners in Scotland’s schools, including those recently arrived from other parts of the world, should be able to see themselves, their experiences and their heritage reflected in the curriculum. Ms McEwan pointed to the potential of using classroom resources drawn from other cultures, such as Syria and Ukraine, to help further integrate New Scots families into school communities, and to celebrate the culture of all learners. She noted though that this requires funding and space, and asked for the EIS to investigate and report on current practice.

Seconding the motion, Derek McDonald (Inverclyde) stated that Scotland should be proud of being a welcoming nation and that the EIS should demand educational equality for New Scots. As a secondary English teacher, he spoke of the importance of selecting course materials which related to the lived experiences of learners. He noted that currently set texts are steeped in Scottish cultural contexts of which many New Scots have no knowledge. A more diverse approach to teaching resources would mitigate this disadvantage, he argued. The motion was carried.

Pact Materials and the Cost of Living Crisis

Edinburgh Local Association

“That this AGM instructs Council to update the content of the PACT materials in line with the cost-of-living crisis and refresh the offer and delivery of PACT at the beginning of an academic year so that schools with equity on their School Improvement Plans can utilise the materials as part of those plans.”

Claire Robertson (Edinburgh) successfully argued that the PACT professional learning programme should be updated to reflect the severe impacts on teachers and learners of the cost of living crisis. The latest statistics which showed that 24% of Scottish children are living in poverty were, stated Ms Robertson, a “national disgrace.” In this context, she continued, teachers were having to work harder than ever to engage children and young people in learning, and PACT was a vital tool to helping teachers address many issues in school related to poverty. Adela Mansur (Edinburgh) formally seconded the motion.

Equal access to progression and promotion

Renfrewshire Local Association

“That this AGM calls on Council to:

  • Investigate and report on the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), women, disabled and/or LGBT members’ experiences of access to progression and promotion opportunities;
  • Investigate and report on ways to encourage and support more ethnic and religious diversity into the Scottish teaching profession; and
  • Develop guidance for Local Association Secretaries to complement existing EIS guidance on negotiating for improvements to recruitment and retention practices as pertaining to BAME staff.”

Mark Smith (North Ayrshire and Council), in successfully moving this motion on behalf of Council highlighted the value for learners in seeing teachers they identify with, including in promoted posts. Though there currently is a national strategy in relation to BAME diversity in the teaching profession and education workforce, no plans are in place for LGBT or disabled educators.

Reaffirming the importance of being part of a movement that welcomes all, Yasmin Murray (Renfrewshire), asserted that, “Teachers with protected characteristics belong in our profession”. Emphasising the value of intersectionality, she reminded delegates that, “We cannot afford the luxury of only fighting one form of oppression – as a union we are one for all and all for one.”

There were several speakers in support, including EIS Anti-racist Sub-Committee Chair Nuzhat Uthmani (Glasgow), who shared stark data of BAME retention rates, saying, “We are losing minority ethnic teachers at every stage of their career.” Mairi Green (West Lothian) noted that without permanent posts, our colleagues cannot access the same leadership learning opportunities, with Adela Mansur (Edinburgh) flagging up that positive action in employment, currently, is a post-code lottery.

School Clothing Grants

North Lanarkshire Local Association

“This AGM instruct Council to call for the extension of the ‘annual’ school clothing grant awarded to families in receipt of eligible benefits to be awarded ‘biannually’.”

Moving on behalf of North Lanarkshire EIS, Colin Glover argued that extending school clothing grants to a bi-annual, rather than an annual basis, would go some way to alleviating the financial pressures on eligible families. Mr Glover reasoned that, whilst the

annual clothing grant provides some support to families at the start of term, growing children and young people required their school uniforms to be replaced during the school year. Daniel Henderson (also North Lanarkshire) seconded the motion by underlining the stress and anxiety experienced by hard-pressed families of trying to stretch limited budgets to cover school clothing expenses. The motion was carried.

Banning conversion practices

Glasgow Local Association

“That this AGM calls on the EIS to:

a. Investigate and report on the impact of conversion practices on members who have experienced it directly or have supported students or colleagues who have experienced it.
b. Share findings in the report with all members.
c. Use the findings of the report to develop EIS policy on conversion practices.
d. Use the findings to contribute to campaigning in relation to conversion practices and the proposed banning of them in Scotland.
e. Endorse the following definition of ‘Conversion Practices’ and related terms;

Proposed definition:-

i. ‘Conversion practices’: refers to any treatment, practice or effort that aims to change, suppress and/or eliminate a person’s sexual
orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.
ii. ‘Gender expression’ and ‘expression of sexual orientation’: refers to each person’s manifestations of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation, and/or the one that is perceived by others
iii. ‘Gender identity’: refers to each person’s internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with their sex assigned at birth, including their personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance and/or functions by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including name, dress, speech and mannerisms.
iv. ‘Sexual orientation’: refers to a person’s emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to persons of a different gender, the same gender or more than one gender and includes the lack of such attraction or relations.
v. ‘To change’: refers to practices which seek to alter or modify a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, expression of sexual orientation and/or gender expression.
vi. ‘To suppress’: refers to practices which seek to put an end to, restrain and/or prevent the development or the manifestation of another person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, expression of sexual orientation and/or gender expression.”

The current First Minister has reiterated support for a ban on conversion practices, but we cannot take this promise for granted

Damien Donnelly (Glasgow) powerfully moved this motion, sharing the devastating example of just one LGBT colleague, who for too long was made to believe he had to be straight to be accepted by his community, undergoing harmful conversion therapy that has had a long-lasting toll on his mental health and wellbeing.

Kevin Stevenson (Glasgow), first-time speaker at AGM, stood proud in seconding the motion, warning that conversion therapy practices in some cases also include food deprivation and physical violence.

The motion contained a range of definitions in relation to conversion therapy practices, which were included to ensure the EIS can push against any attempts to water down the promise of a full ban. Lucy McCartney (North Lanarkshire) followed by reminding colleagues that LGBT Inclusive Education is now a national expectation for all schools in Scotland, showing strong support of the motion.

Natasha York (Scottish Borders) spoke emotively about her own experience, to an outpouring of support from delegates, “Your gender is who you know you are, and you are not harming anyone else by being that person. My daughter is brave. She is a human being, she is entitled to dignity and respect and to be allowed to get along with her own life.”

Joan Lennon (South Lanarkshire) and James McIntyre (East Dunbartonshire) both reminded delegates that we cannot afford to regress on LGBT rights, James McIntyre adding that, “This motion is about blocking something which does real harm to our learners and our colleagues.” The near unanimous passing of the motion was met with cheers and tears by those in attendance, visibly demonstrating the EIS’s steadfast commitment to LGBT equality.

Reaffirming support for the GRR (Scotland) Bill


“That this AGM reaffirms the EIS’s support for the passing of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which will bring Scotland closer to meeting transgender people’s human rights, as recognised by the United Nations.”

“The EIS has a strong voice, an influential voice and that means it is a powerful voice. Amid vicious, politically motivated rhetoric surrounding trans people, I urge you today to remember the children, the young people and the adult human beings at the centre of it. Today I want to affirm; loudly, clearly, unequivocally: trans peoples’ lives matter.” David Dick (South Lanarkshire)

James McIntyre (East Dunbartonshire) successfully moved this motion to strong support from delegates. “We know cases of transphobia are on the rise, so it is important now more than ever that we stand up for those targeted for such bigotry and hate.”

The passing of the motion reaffirmed the EIS’s support for the GRR (Scotland) Bill, which would bring Scotland closer to meeting transgender people’s Human Rights, as recognised by the United Nations.

The Motion was seconded by Andrew O’Halloran (Dumfries and Galloway) reminding delegates of our shared values at educators being more than “just results on paper – it’s about human beings”.

The EIS’s LGBT Sub-Committee Co-Chair David Dick (South Lanarkshire) supported the motion, “One of the lessons that nursery children teach the adults in the playroom, is that they show us, all day, every day, what it’s like to live freely.(…) Within that vast mix of mini humans, some will grow up to be straight, some gay, some lesbian, some bisexual, some will be non-binary and some will be trans.(…) Some of those nursery children playing happily and carefree today, will become the brutalised scapegoats of tomorrow.” The motion was passed with wide support.

Reserved Council spaces for LGBT, BAME and disabled members

North Ayrshire Local Association

“AGM instructs the EIS Council to investigate and report on a constitutional amendment to provide reserved space(s) on Council for BAME, LGBT+ and Disabled members.”

Let us inspire and guide. Let’s not perpetuate erasure by omission.

Mary Gibson (North Ayrshire), first-time speaker, moved this motion, which called for a constitutional amendment, that increase the diversity of EIS’s decision-making structures by providing reserved spaces on Council for colleagues who are BAME, LGBT+ and disabled.

Seconding the motion, Adela Mansur (Edinburgh) encouraged AGM to “respect the plethora of views and experiences, and ensure voices are heard and represented. Let’s not disenfranchise, but empower”.

Ross Lyall opposed the Motion, which was further supported by Gerard Wilkie (Edinburgh), Nikhat Yusaf (Edinburgh), and Jehan Al-Azzawi (Edinburgh) who emphasised that, “We must adopt positive action measures to remove the barriers that people with protected characteristics face at all levels of our profession.” The motion went to a vote and was passed by delegates.

Reporting homophobic, biphobic and through transphobic incidents

North Ayrshire Local Association

“AGM resolves to request local association secretaries review incident reporting forms and ensure that this explicitly include incidents motivated through homo/bi phobia and through transphobia.”

We need a true picture to ensure our schools are a safe place for our young people to learn, and our teachers to work in.

Jacqui MacKenzie (North Ayrshire) was successful in a call for the EIS to review incident reporting forms, ensuring the explicit inclusion of homo/bi/trans phobia motivated incidents. Damien Donnelly (Glasgow) in seconding the motion, highlighted the need for a more comprehensive gathering of data.

Speaking in support of the motion, Gerard Wilkie (Edinburgh) underscored the importance of reporting in ensuring that these incidents are treated and managed appropriately.

Teaching resources on the Section 2a/section 28 campaign; LGBT+ representation

North Ayrshire Local Association

“That this AGM instructs Council to develop a teaching resource on the Scottish context for the historical campaign to remove Section 2A of the Local Government Act 1986 (Section 28 in England and Wales).

Furthermore, AGM resolves to request that the Scottish Government gather data on teachers’ sexual orientation and gender identity in the annual teacher census to monitor and promote LGBT+ representation in the profession.”

Carole Thorpe (Aberdeen City and Council), in moving motion 41, reminded delegates of the “devastating and long-lasting effects” of section 2a of the Local Government Act (Section 28 in England and Wales), introduced by the Conservative government in 1988, which “prohibited the promotion of homosexuality.” This law, explained Ms Thorpe, was an attack by the state on the rights of LGBT+ people and sent a horrific message to LGBT+ teachers and learners that they were not valued. She went on to describe how the ban on teaching about same-sex relationships led to widespread fear, with many teachers avoiding LGBT+ issues altogether.

Seconding, David Dick (South Lanarkshire) stated that Scotland should take pride in having been the first part of the UK to repeal the legislation. In an impassioned plea for teaching resources to celebrate the campaign which defeated this discriminatory law, Mr Dick stated, “Being ignorant of our history dooms us to repeat it.” He then underlined the importance of data on LGBT+ representation in the teaching profession, stating that if LGBT+ teachers are leaving the profession, we need to know why.

Khadija Mohammed (EIS-ULA) expressed her support for the motion. “As a teacher of colour, I am still fighting to see myself heard and represented in education. No matter what, your fight is our fight.” The motion was carried.

Reporting and recording of equality-based incidents

North Ayrshire Local Association

“AGM resolves to investigate and report on arrangements for the reporting and recording of equality-based incidents (including potential hate crimes) in schools in order to identify best practice and gaps in current reporting mechanisms.”

Mass underreporting in wider society is mirrored in our schools

Lorraine Clifford (North Ayrshire) was successful in a call for EIS to investigate arrangements for the reporting and recording of equality-based incidents in schools, identifying best practice and gaps in current reporting mechanisms. The need to explore protected characteristics was highlighted. David Dick (South Lanarkshire) formally seconded the motion.

Reaffirming support for refugees and anti-racism

Inverclyde Local Association

“That this AGM reaffirms the Institute’s welcome to New Scots in our Early Years, Primary, Secondary, ASN, HE and FE sectors and calls on Council to campaign for those New Scots to be assessed in their first language if they so wish.”

“This Motion calls for equity of access and equity of opportunity for New Scots”

Incoming President, Paula McEwan (Inverclyde) called on AGM to reaffirm the Institute’s welcome to New Scots across Scottish education, by campaigning for those New Scots to be assessed in their first language if they so wish. Paula invited delegates to reflect on the experience of young people, just arrived in Scotland, unable to communicate in the local language, being required to undertake learning and assessment which could define their whole academic future. Noting that some settings already allow for assessment in a language other than English, Paula explained that, “There is good practice out there. All New Scots should be able to demonstrate their skills and ability.”

In seconding the motion, Mark Smith (North Ayrshire) noted that assessment in a familiar language helps to identify learners’ needs at an early stage, including additional support needs, and ensure they get the educational provision that’s relevant to them.

Speaking against the motion, Alan Stickle (Aberdeenshire) raised concerns about the proposed strategy in the context of cuts to English as an Additional Language (EAL) provision, calling on AGM to “not dilute the message about funding for EAL”.

Yasmin Murray (Renfrewshire) spoke in support of the motion, outlining how developing language skills for academic assessment can take considerable time, delaying access to education for New Scots required to be assessed in English only. Nuzhat Uthmani (Glasgow) also spoke in support, citing UNCRC article 30: the right to practice your culture and language, and noting that “literacy is not just English.”

Summing up, Paula reinforced that “Our New Scots deserve to be able to demonstrate what they know”, and since there will always be New Scots without academic English their opportunity to participate academically should not be delayed. The motion was carried overwhelmingly.

Reaffirming support for refugees and anti-racism


“That this EIS AGM resolves to oppose refugee expulsions to Rwanda and to reaffirm its support for Stand up to Racism initiatives including the annual UN anti-racism day march.

Furthermore, that this AGM reaffirms its commitment to supporting the Justice for Sheku Bayoh Campaign and standing in solidarity with the family of Sheku Bayoh as they continue to fight for justice.”

Donny Gluckstein (FELA and Council), moved this motion to overwhelming support from delegates, reminding AGM of the dangers of hostile anti-immigration rhetoric, which stirs up racism and violence in our communities including, as seen recently, in Erskine.

The motion was formally seconded by Claire Robertson (Edinburgh) who spoke rousingly about the Justice for Sheku Bayoh Campaign, praising the courage of Sheku’s loved ones who refuse to be bullied or patronised, and who ensure that Sheku is never forgotten – with steadfast support from the trade union movement. David Farmer (Fife) who resides in Kirkcaldy where Sheku Bayoh died in police custody, provided insight into the lasting community impact of this tragedy.

Delegates were reminded that taking the knee, Black Lives Matter or Stand up to Racism, must be backed up with real change in an accountable justice system, and the motion was passed.

Investigate training for Senior Management Teams on menstrual health issues

Glasgow Local Association

“This AGM calls for the EIS to investigate and report upon the training currently provided to SMT on reproductive health issues across all local authorities.

The investigation to include but not be limited to whether the training covers:-

a. The physical and mental health impact that menstrual health issues can have on the day-to-day work of the members.
b. The physical and mental health impact that menstrual health issues can have on young people in education.
c. The reasonable adjustments that can be made by SMT to support the member to continue to carry out their roles and responsibilities.
d. The reasonable adjustments that can be made by SMT to support young people to access education when dealing with reproductive health issues.
e. The role occupational therapy can play in supporting both the member and the SMT.”

The union has been on the forefront of fighting for period equity. It’s time to build on that

Jacqui Church (Glasgow) presented this motion calling for the EIS to investigate and report upon the training currently provided to senior management teams on reproductive health issues across all local authorities. Jacqui informed delegates of the impact on work of conditions such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, noting that even small adjustments to working practices through Occupational Health and HR arrangements can have a hugely positive impact on teachers and subsequently their learners.

However, Jacqui also explained that attendance management systems often exclude menstrual issues and can be a huge source of stress, and there is a lack of equity across the country regarding this issue.

Aisling Gallagher (Glasgow) formally seconded the proposal, and the motion was carried overwhelmingly by AGM attendees.

Menopause and the workplace

Glasgow Local Association
West Dunbartonshire Local Association

“This AGM believes that the menopause is an occupational health and an equality issue. Furthermore, it believes that schools, colleges and universities should be suitable workplaces for menopausal women. This AGM therefore instructs Council to issue advice and guidance for all members and reps to support members working through the menopause and to help improve the workplace conditions for menopausal women.

Furthermore, that our menopause guidance is reworded to remove an age reference for menopause and to include perimenopause.”

Teachers face a unique set of issues in the way we work – we can’t just leave the classroom

Aisling Gallagher (Glasgow), first-time speaker, was successful in a call for the EIS to issue guidance and advice to support those experiencing menopause in the workplace. Furthermore, that guidance include perimenopause, and remove any age reference. Ms Gallagher highlighted the need for information to ensure people have confidence to ask for the right support when needed. Rebecca McCulloch (West Dunbartonshire) in seconding the motion, shared personal experience that highlighted health and wellbeing impacts.