Introduction

The 2022 Local Government elections come at a crucial time for Scottish Education. As we emerge from the immediate impact of Covid-19, and at the start of a long period of education recovery, it is critical that Scotland’s Councils, as the main employers of teachers, do much more to support education staff to deliver for the young people in our schools.

The EIS supports better funding for Councils to deliver their education ambitions but equally we believe that Councils could and should be doing much more to address key issues such as the scandal of 10% of teachers being on temporary contracts, the dearth of support for additional support needs, and the need to remove unnecessary bureaucratic paper trails which simply add to workload.

In this manifesto the EIS calls for political parties, and their candidates, to commit to actions, locally, which will make a difference in schools and provide concrete support to the efforts of teachers and educators to deliver for Scotland’s children. Education is too often a political football between political parties and between different tiers of Government – given the enormity of the challenge around education recovery in, hopefully, a post pandemic scenario the EIS believes that cooperation, collaboration and partnership offer much more productive platforms for Scottish Education to embrace.

Larry Flanagan, EIS General Secretary

Teacher Workforce

If there was a single insight to be affirmed from the pandemic it would be that pupils need teachers. Investing in the teaching workforce, therefore, is critical.

The EIS demands:

  • A significant increase in teacher numbers, in permanent posts, as a prerequisite for supporting an education led recovery
  • An end to the abuse of zero-hours supply lists and the misuse of temporary contracts
  • Early implementation of the promised reduction in class contact time to 21 hours (with an ultimate aim of 20 hours)
  • A start in class size reduction to support education recovery – with an ultimate target of 20 pupils maximum
  • Best practice across all 32 Council areas in relation to delegated LNCT areas
  • All Local Authorities to implement fair and transparent recruitment policies for supply, newly qualified and recently qualified teachers
  • Stronger efforts towards achieving greater racial and ethnic diversity within the teaching profession – appropriate support for BAME students and probationers, fully inclusive recruitment practices and commitment to the retention of BAME teachers.

Pay

Teachers’ pay and conditions are negotiated in the tri-partite forum of the SNCT (Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers) and the EIS believes it is critical that free collective bargaining is facilitated through this machinery.

The EIS demands:

  • Councils, and in particular their collective body COSLA, commit to maintaining the integrity of collective bargaining within the tripartite SNCT machinery, recognising that teachers have nationally agreed pay scales
  • COSLA commits to exploring options to ensure timeous negotiations to deliver pay agreements, including consideration of movement to an August settlement date
  • An early positive settlement of the teachers’ pay claim for 2022/23, 10%, to address the cost of living crisis and continue the restorative journey started by the EIS’s Value Education Value Teachers campaign and settlement
  • Rejection of the introduction and use of workplace parking levies which would simply compound the financial challenges facing teachers.

Supporting Teacher Well-being

Local Authorities as employers have a duty of care to school staff.

The EIS demands:

  • Increased support for the health and well-being of all those working in education, including specific support for mental health
  • Investment in improved health and safety measures and contingency planning during the Covid-19 pandemic and post- pandemic and a commitment to maintain improvements in basic health and safety measures such as adequate ventilation and enhanced cleaning regimes
  • Fair work for all teachers and education staff, including those who share protected characteristics
  • Appropriate support at all stages of career for disabled teachers, including through reasonable adjustments.

Schools

The critically important role of schools at the heart of our communities and in the nurturing of our children has been evidenced by the pandemic.

The EIS demands:

  • Decisive action to tackle excessive teacher workload, including the hiring of sufficient admin and technical staff to allow teachers to focus on learning and teaching
  • Recognition of the centrality of teacher agency within an empowered school system
  • De-cluttering of the BGE curriculum in Primary to enable a proper focus on recovery, especially well-being
  • Senior phase curricula that will allow breadth, depth, and enjoyment of learning, and greater parity of esteem between vocational and non-vocational learning
  • Assessment policy and practice that truly supports sound learning and equity- an end to SNSAs and equivalent standardised assessment regimens, and the reform of senior phase assessment
  • Greater provision for vocational courses and pathways within schools.

Pre-5

Local authorities are the key providers of nursery education.

The EIS demands:

  • An end to cuts in the numbers of qualified, GTCS registered teachers within Early Years provision
  • A commitment to the restoration and role of GTCS registered teachers in Nursery schools, as an essential step towards enabling statutory public sector provision of Early Years education for all children, with guaranteed meaningful minimum access to qualified teachers for all 3-5 year olds
  • Further embedding of play-based pedagogy in Nursery and in the early years of Primary as a feature of a curriculum designed for equitable education recovery.

ASN

The pandemic has increased the already high level of demand for additional support needs provision, and an increasing complexity and range of additional support needs; ASN establishments often the front-line in terms of supporting students.

The EIS demands:

  • Proper resourcing to fill the gap between the promise of ASL legislation and the reality of ASN provision
  • Increased specialist staffing in both ASN settings and mainstream, and appropriate professional learning opportunities for all teachers to better meet the needs of pupils with additional support needs
  • Urgent enhancement of specialist support for the rising numbers of children and young people who are struggling with their mental health
  • Coherent adoption of Trauma Informed Practice in terms of policy, professional learning, and increased staffing to support it.

Poverty and Inequity

The deep inequalities in Scottish society have been laid bare by the experience of the past two years

The EIS demands:

  • Investment in education for equity, particularly in the context of Covid-19 and the impact that it has had on the learning of the most disadvantaged young people
  • Universal provision of free school meals (including over holiday periods) and breakfast clubs for all Nursery and school-aged children
  • Access to digital hardware and broadband for all pupils to help tackle digital poverty
  • Accessible, local, publicly funded support services for pupils – including CAMHS, speech therapy, health etc
  • Free and equitable access to school clubs and sports for all pupils
  • Progress on and resourcing of the commitment to free instrumental tuition for all pupils who wish it – an end to IMT staffing cuts and waiting lists for children and young people
  • Prioritisation of equality to create safe, equitable, inclusive, and non-discriminatory environments for all staff and students
  • Reversal of cuts to EAL provision and an expansion across Councils of this vital service.