3rd November 2020




Executive Update

The EIS Executive Committee met on Friday 6th November and agreed to survey members directly on perceptions of current Covid mitigations in their workplaces; attitudes to the Strategic Framework and its default position on schools remaining open at all levels; and member willingness or otherwise to support industrial action in response to a refusal to implement a move to blended or remote learning at Level 4, where staff support either contingency.

The survey will be launched this week and members are urged to participate.

As a result of some attempted external interference in our last survey, membership numbers will be required to participate in the survey (reminders will be sent), although the results will remain anonymised. The format, however, means that we can analyse data down to a school level, which will be important if we have to move to a statutory ballot in any area.

Whilst the Executive believes that Level 4 should trigger blended / remote learning contingencies, the fact is that the Scottish Parliament, all parties, has voted otherwise. Nonetheless, the EIS believes that these contingencies need to be considered even on a local basis and has called for agreement on how this should be done with teacher trade union involvement. We also set out a demand for full transparency around the enhanced school surveillance data and for further consideration of regular proactive testing of staff and pupils, where schools remain open.

Watch out for the survey in your inbox.

Advice on Blended and At Home Learning and Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The EIS Education Department has developed guidance on blended and at home learning and teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance sets out the principles to be considered when moves to these models of teaching and learning are considered and provides advice on the ‘do’s and don’ts of online teaching in the COVID context. 

The guidance can be accessed here and forms part of the suite of guidance on Education Recovery. The Primary and Secondary Curriculum and Pedagogy Guidance has been updated in line with the new Scottish Government Guidance, with changes highlighted in red .

New support being offered to school staff to help manage additional pressures as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic

A new package of Scottish government funded support is being offered to teachers taking account of the specific professional and wellbeing challenges that they face amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the Workforce Support workstream of the Education Recovery Group, has updated its collation of the supports available from a range of stakeholder organisations, including the EIS. All details can be found here.

Forth Valley College Dispute

EIS members at Forth Valley College will take action short of strike over attempts to remove 30 lecturers’ jobs and replace them with support staff.

The action will include 'working to rule', where members will do no more than the minimum required by their contract, escalating to a refusal to take an accurate student register, a marking boycott, and refusing to cover for absent colleagues.

Members will be taking action from 10th November until 29th January 2021, unless a resolution is found.

National Pay offer for FELA

97% of members who participated voted in favour of accepting the offer.

FELA will now communicate that we are accepting the offer to Colleges Scotland, so the award can be processed by employers and put into your pay packets as soon as possible.

Free Will Service

Members are reminded that, as part of their membership, they can benefit from a free will service from solicitors, Balfour and Manson. The firm has a dedicated email address that EIS members can contact to enquire about the preparation of a free will for themselves as well as a mirror will for their partner or spouse.

If interested in this service, members should contact eismember@balfour-manson.co.uk. In reply to your initial email, someone will get back to you with an explanation of the service and the firm’s will questionnaire, for completion, together with a note of the ID documents that will need to be provided.

Learn online with EIS: Equality Taster Training

Are you committed to equality, but not sure where to begin in terms of challenging inequality and advancing equality in your professional role? The EIS is pleased to announce the launch of a new online training offer- Equality Taster Training.

This training will:

  • Increase your knowledge of equality legislation and how it relates to education
  • Raise your awareness of inequality and increase your confidence in addressing it

Teachers bear witness every day, to the enormous consequences inequality has for education. In these times of uncertainty, there is power in knowledge of rights, responsibilities and how you can realise them within your workplace and classroom. This training can either be the start of your learning journey about equality, or a helpful refresher.

The Equality Taster Training consists of four modules which can be completed flexibly to work around your time. The complete training will take around 2-4 hours to complete, depending on the amount of additional reading you choose to do.

Visit https://equality.eis.org.uk/tastertraining/ to find out more and start your learning.

Towards Equality in our Work: Learning for BAME educators on anti-racist leadership

The EIS is pleased to offer this learning opportunity as part of our new EIS BAME Network activity. These sessions will offer a space for BAME members to network, access leadership learning, reflect on their experiences and gain practical skills. The sessions are delivered in partnership with SAMEE, the Scottish Association for Minority Ethic Educators.

Learning is organised in 2 Modules, each consisting of a 2-hour long session. For more information and to book, visit our website.

Inclusive School Leadership for Race Equality: Learning for Headteachers and Depute Headteachers

At times of collective uncertainty and societal unrest, in an ever-changing political environment, and in the context of educational change, there is an urgent need for leadership that has equity and equality at its heart.

Build on your inclusive leadership skills with this new course aimed at Headteachers and Depute Headteachers. This course provides essential learning for leaders who want to strengthen their ability to ensure that their schools are pro-equality, and are inclusive workplaces and education settings for all.

This interactive course will facilitate networking amongst school leaders who want to make a difference and offer a comprehensive knowledge-basis for best practice in inclusion for race equality. Regardless of the diversity of your current workforce, these learning modules will enable you to be make an even greater difference in leading the equality agenda.

Anti-poverty Professional Learning by the EIS PACT Project

Module 3:  Wed.11th or Fri.13th November

Module 4:  Wed.9th or Fri.11th December**

The EIS PACT Project is offering modules exploring the relationship between poverty and young people’s experiences of education and identifying ways that schools and teachers can mitigate the damage that it can do to young people’s outcomes.

Key themes are: Understanding Poverty Better; The Human Rights Approach to Poverty; Pedagogical Approaches to Mitigating the Impact of Poverty; and Creating a Whole School Anti-Poverty Culture.

You can register here.

Taking Action on Gender-Based Violence

Monday 7th December 4.30pm - 6.30pm

As part of 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence, the EIS are hosting a panel webinar to encourage you to grow your knowledge and take action on GBV. This event will provide an introduction to a range of issues related to GBV, and how it may manifest for both adults and young people.

The event is open to all EIS members, and the panel presentations will be followed by a Q&A.

To book your place, please register here.

The Impact of Teachers in Early Years

Join us on Monday 30th November at 4.30pm for The Impact of Teachers in Early Years: Professional Identity and Agency, the 3rd webinar in the series focusing on Early Years Settings. Please visit the website for more information, and to book your place. 

National Qualifications 2021

The SQA has published the 2021 Higher and Advanced Higher exam timetable.

Subject specific advice on gathering key evidence for producing estimates for National 5 courses in Art & Design; Graphic Communication and Practical Metalworking has also been published.

A timeline of when to expect publication of the remaining subjects between now and Thurs 19 November can be found here.