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Standing up for Education
As the new session started in August, EIS members were again to the fore in campaigns to protect Scottish education.
The launch of the new EIS campaign, Stand Up for Quality Education, at the AGM in June has been followed by a period of intense activity as the campaign builds. A broad-ranging campaign with a diverse range of objectives, the Stand Up campaign may be more of a slow-build than the last pay campaign, but its aims are no less important.
The three main aims – tackling pupil indiscipline, improving ASN provision, and reducing teacher workload – were identified by EIS members as the most pressing issues that you wished to see addressed.
Initially, the focus is on tackling pupil indiscipline – a persistent issue that negatively impacts on teachers and students alike. In recent years, immediately post lockdown and beyond, we have witnessed a worrying increase in the number of violent incidents in our schools. The reasons behind this are many and complex, but the impact on staff, pupils and our education system is clear to see.
In this edition of the SEJ, we look at the work than has taken place so far on this important first stage of the campaign, and highlight what individual teachers and EIS branches can do to support the drive to make our schools safer for staff and students alike.
We also highlight the ongoing disputes in our college sector, where EIS-FELA members across the country are making a stand to ensure fair pay, to protect jobs, and to defend the Further Education sector from deep cuts that will devastate learning provision for students of all ages across Scotland.
Scotland’s colleges offer so much to a wide range of people – including many who have never fully engaged with education in the past – and provide opportunities to learn new skills that can be truly life-altering for those concerned. To see the sector constantly under threat and starved of the funding, resources and staff that it needs, is both profoundly worrying and deeply shameful.
The national dispute in FE, in pursuit of a fair pay settlement for staff, has recently escalated to a programme of strike action, in addition to the ongoing action short of strike. EIS-FELA lecturer members have joined their support staff colleagues on picket lines across the country, and will not back down until a fair pay settlement that protects jobs is secured for all college staff.
Local disputes also continue at both City of Glasgow College and Edinburgh College over redundancy programmes that threaten the livelihoods of EIS-FELA members, including one Branch Rep who was already singled out for redundancy at Edinburgh College.
The dispute over pensions at Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow has now been settled, with members securing a deal that protects pension contributions, increases pay and has seen the school become the first independent school in Scotland to recognise trade unions for collective bargaining.
Trade union action works, and members can secure better and fairer pay and conditions for themselves by continuing to work collectively through their union. The EIS is its members, and the members are the strength of the EIS.