As EIS Council members gathered in Edinburgh for the first time this session, the focus was on building the recently-launched campaign Stand Up for Quality Education.

Recent reports of increases in the number of incidences of serious pupil disruption and violence in schools were on everyone’s mind, as plans for the first phase of the campaign – focused on pupil behaviour – continued to develop.

Stand Up for Quality Education

Delivering his report on behalf of Executive Committee, Vice-President Allan Crosbie, updated Council on the latest developments in the campaign, including the progress on the all-branch behaviour survey which was underway at that time. “Building this campaign will take time and patience, but we will work tirelessly and collectively to achieve our aims,” he said.

Mr Crosbie then invited General Secretary Andrea Bradley to provide a report on planning for the next steps in the campaign.

Ms Bradley told Council that, “We need to continue to call out the Scottish Government every single time, when they say that they can’t do this or that, because of what they call the historic teachers’ pay deal. The Scottish Government is responsible for managing budgets, and they should have budgeted for fair public sector pay settlements – they have revenue-raising powers to fund decent public sector pay deals.”

Ms Bradley continued, “We have to be very vocal in responding to the Scottish Government’s false rhetoric, wherever and whenever we hear it. During the course of the pay attention campaign, we were frequently contacted by teachers who were stuck on temporary contracts, unable to secure a permanent post. Many of these teachers had responded to the Scottish Government’s own recruitment campaign, urging people to train as teachers.”

“The Manifesto commitment to reduce class contact time remains unmet, and we are still waiting on another commitment to recruit 3,500 additional teachers. The rise in reported violent incidents is a symptom of the under-funding and under-staffing of Scottish education,” said Ms Bradley.

Ms Bradley added, “We have raised the issue of precarity of employment for teachers directly with the First Minister – and, to his credit, he did express concern over the issue and its implications for our members and for Scottish education.”

“We have subsequently met with the Cabinet Secretary to discuss these issues, and we have again highlighted the need for the Scottish Government to meet its commitments to the country’s young people and to Scotland’s teachers,” said Ms Bradley.


Mr Crosbie updated Council on a wide range of issues, including the industrial action campaign at Hutchesons’ Grammar School (now settled), the ongoing national and local action in Scotland’s FE colleges.

Mr Crosbie said, “Following four days of industrial action at Hutchesons’ Grammar school, the dispute is now settled. As part of the agreement, Hutchesons’ becomes the first independent school to recognise trade unions for collective bargaining.”

On the national FE dispute, Mr Crosbie said, “The national dispute in FE colleges continues, as the result of a pathetic pay offer and the threat of mass redundancies across the sector.”

Mr Crosbie also updated Council on the ongoing local disputes at City of Glasgow College (over planned cuts to courses and jobs) and Edinburgh College (calling for the reinstatement of EIS-FELA branch Health and Safety Rep, Kevin Scally).

Education Committee

Convener Susan Quinn told Council that the decision taken by the Cabinet Secretary for education to ‘pause’ all reform agenda work to allow ‘holistic’ considerations to take place had raised significant concerns.

“In pausing the work related to education reform, the replacement of the SQA and so on, the Cabinet Secretary has inevitably delayed progress on some huge pieces of work that are important to our members.

We were expecting changes on qualifications soon, with the SQA stepping aside and the new body being put in place. The earliest we are going to see change now is in 2025. Education Committee will continue to press, in line with the Stand Up campaign, for changes that will be beneficial to our members,” said Ms Quinn.

Employment Relations Committee

Susan Slater, presenting her first report to Council as the new Employment Relations Convener, updated Council on the work of the committee.

Ms Slater advised Council that, on Benevolence matters, the Committee had authorised 40 grants totalling £143,200 following applications for assistance from members.

On legal affairs, Ms Slater told Council that the Committee considered 51 cases over its past two meetings, and was pleased to note that a total of £216,300 in settlements had been received on behalf of five members.

Equality Committee

Nicola Fisher, Convener, told Council that a series of Equality-based podcasts was in development, and would be launched soon, and thanked all those who had assisted with the project.

Ms Fisher said that the Equality Committee continues to push for the introduction of universal free school meals, which has been delayed yet again by the Scottish Government, and continues to work with the STUC on the campaign to ensure delivery of universal free meals to all young people.

The Committee had noted the Scottish Government’s draft National Framework on Gender-based Violence in Schools and welcomed its intent, but had concerns that it does not reflect current realities in schools. “There is no point in having a document that has grand aspirations, but which will not work practically in schools,” said Ms Fisher.

Salaries Committee

Convener Des Morris updated Council on the progress, or lack thereof, on the implementation of the Scottish Government’s commitment to reduce teachers’ class contact time to 21 hours per week, as outlined in the SNP Manifesto before the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.

“There has been no commitment from either the Scottish Government or COSLA to allocate all of the planned reduction to preparation and correction time, and no clarity from them as to what they think this time should be utilised for,” said Mr Morris.

He added, “We will strongly resist any attempt to categorise any delay to the implementation of the reduction as being the fault of the teachers’ side. We previously refused to sign up for a timetable that offered no clarity on key issues, including how the reduction in class contact time will be utilised.”

A subsequent meeting of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) offered little of the desired clarity.


Council passed three Motions at its September meeting: agreeing to support the Australian Education Union’s ‘Unions for Yes’ campaign and send a message of solidarity (mover: Andrene Bamford); resolving to offer full support to the Edinburgh College campaign to reinstate branch H&S Rep Kevin Scally (mover: Alan Holligan); to approach the Scottish Courts and Tribunals service to seek automatic exemption from jury service during fixed school and college holiday periods (mover: Andrew Fullwood).