Argyll & Bute Headships
Argyll and Bute Council are currently proposing the introduction of Executive Head posts to cover a ‘collective’ of schools in early years, primary and secondary. This would eventually see the deletion of Headteacher posts and the introduction of a Head of School post in its place. EIS reps and members have taken part in the ‘engagement’ process to date and have raised significant concerns about the proposals.
We cannot see the benefit of the posts, other than for purposes of budget reduction. The posts, as they are proposed, will not reduce the crisis of recruitment in rural areas and they will not reduce workload.
We need investment in our schools in the form of more classroom teaching time with senior school leaders given the time and resources to ensure a properly empowered school community. Everyone needs to continue to be encouraged to work collegiately and collaboratively, but this can only be done with investment. This proposal is a distraction from the underlying problems it seeks to address.
EIS reps will continue to engage with the Council over these proposals as we remain opposed to their introduction.
Colin Vetters, 1966-2022
EIS activist Colin Vetters has died after being diagnosed with a virulent cancer in February of last year.
Born in 1966, Colin grew in Pollok, on Glasgow’s Southside.
He left school to study science at Strathclyde University. After graduating he worked for a time as an NHS lab technician before completing his teacher training at the end of the 1980s.
After that, he taught at Paisley Grammar School until a few years ago, when he, his partner Amy and their children moved to Dumfries.
Colin was a committed EIS activist and was a regular delegate to the Annual General Meeting.
He was a stalwart in refugee rights work and was instrumental in launching Stand Up To Racism in Paisley. He organised its first public meeting with speakers from the EIS and from Paisley TUC.
He continued this work when he later moved to Dumfries, particularly around the Black Lives Matter movement.
Colin is survived by his parents Frances and Tommy, his children Tony, Madeline and Nicole, their mum Amy, and his sisters Julie and Fiona.
175th Anniversary Celebrations – EIS Tartan
As part of the 175th anniversary celebrations, EIS Executive agreed that the Institute should commission a bespoke tartan for use on a variety of different items, in the 175th anniversary year and beyond.
The EIS engaged the services of leading Tartan Designer, Brian Wilton and, from a shortlist of five designs presented to them, the 175th anniversary working group selected the design.
The colours are consistent with those utilised by the EIS in other areas, including those on graduation robes, the website, the Institute’s coat of arms and the national banner.
Moving forward, the tartan will become an important component of the Institute’s identity. The tartan will be used as the cover of the next EIS diary, which will be sent out to all members with the May edition of the SEJ. A range of merchandise is also being produced making use of the EIS tartan.
Sudanese Teachers stand for Democracy
As we go to press members of the Sudanese Teachers’ Committee are on national strike for a pay rise. They report it is 99 percent solid, but rather than talk the authorities are doing their utmost to intimidate strikers, including detaining them. A girls’ primary school has even been teargassed.
In November EIS Council passed a motion protesting against the military coup which ended moves towards democracy in Sudan after a long dictatorship. This followed meetings with the Sudanese Teachers’ Committee on Zoom, and there is now a solidarity group set up to support them.
What follows is a report from the teachers on their struggles. Violence against teachers and students started during the El Bashir regime. Under his rule Abdulminiem Salman, Amin Badawy, and Ahmed Alkhair, were tortured to death along with many more teachers and students detained and injured.
Then a revolt removed him. But on 25th October the military counter-attacked with a coup. Teachers and students are again on the front line. On 30th October during a teachers’ protest inside the building of the ministry of education and in the days following many were killed, amongst them 14 year old Rimaz Hatim. The 68 female teachers detained have been subject to torture and repression.
During 2022, as the resistance continues mobilising, demonstrating and organising, teachers are being detained every day and kept in inhumane conditions, denied medication and other health care’.
There are eight main demonstrations planned each month plus other local ones. All the government offices are closed due to roadblocks. The political and economic situation is deteriorating. There are massive increases in the cost of living and services such as cooking gas.
The previous intelligence system, their authority limited when the transitional government operated is back. They show up in large numbers, armed with live ammunition and conduct mass arrests. Hundreds are injured, hundreds are imprisoned. Those arrested are kept in unknown locations and have no formal charges.
Over 800 Resistance Committees, elected from the grass roots in neighbourhoods across Sudan have issued a ‘Charter For the Establishment of the People’s Authority’. They have sent this to all resistance committees, unions, professional associations, and civil society bodies for discussion. The level of democracy and engagement is extraordinary and inspiring. To read more or offer solidarity please visit the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) website: www.menasolidaritynetwork.com
“All the government offices are closed due to roadblocks. The political and economic situation is deteriorating.”
EIS Opens Consultative Strike Ballot Over Dundee Faculty Plans
The Dundee Local Association of the EIS recently opened a consultative strike ballot over Dundee Council’s proposals to move to a faculty structure in its secondary schools. The ballot was scheduled to run until 21 March.
Commenting, Dundee EIS Secretary David Baxter said, “There is absolutely no sound educational rationale for moving secondary schools to a faculty structure. These proposals would remove subject-specialist principal teachers from our schools, with damaging consequences for pupils and staff alike. The loss of subject principal teachers would remove invaluable experience and leadership from individual departments, while also increasing workload demands on class teachers and promoted staff. Dundee Council’s plans will damage our secondary schools and bring no discernible benefit for students or staff.”
Mr Baxter continued, “In cases where other councils have sought to move to faculty structures, they have made the argument that this will lead to cost savings. Yet, the proposals put forward by Dundee Council will actually cost money to implement, with any potential savings coming many years in the future. This will starve already stretched school budgets even further, with less money available for school resources and staffing. Clearly, this will have damaging consequences for the young people learning in Dundee’s secondary schools.”
Mr Baxter added, “We must send a very strong and very clear message to Dundee Council that these proposals are unwelcome, damaging and must now be scrapped.”