27 April 2021


COVID-19 Update

Notwithstanding that some welcome steps out of lockdown are being undertaken, the full reopening of schools after the Spring break still presents challenges around covid safety and there remains a need for mitigations to be rigorously implemented. Where schools have seen outbreaks, these have tended to be larger than before and in-school transmission has been a feature in over half of such incidents.

Physical distancing between adults and between staff and pupils remains key to covid security, along with good ventilation and the use of face coverings. The EIS continues to press for the provision of medical grade face masks to combat aerosol transmission and for accelerated vaccination for school staff.

The latest Scottish Government guidelines on school opening can be found here.

Members are urged to participate in the twice weekly lateral flow testing on offer.

With shielding coming to an end, those members who were "paused shielding" are reminded that they are entitled to bespoke risk assessments before any return to in-school teaching. Support from EIS reps or LA secretaries should be sought where required.

Secondary schools will be facing up to the challenge of delivering certification for students in what has become a very compressed timeframe. Advice was issued last week to school reps on SQA matters

Some early discussions around "education recovery" have begun and the EIS has used the election period to highlight the need for more teachers and support staff in schools to support an approach based on pupil and staff health and well-being. In particular we are pushing for end to the temporary contract scandal which has become too familiar across the country. You can view the EIS Hustings event here.

Equality Hustings

Wednesday 28th April, 6pm-7:30pm

Ahead of the 2021 Holyrood Election, the EIS is hosting an Equality Hustings with leading political parties to explore their plans, and commitment, to tackling inequality and creating a fairer society. This will be an online event taking place on Wednesday 28th April at 6pm.

The online hustings will feature a Q&A session with questions from EIS members submitted upon registering.

Register now on our website.

EIS FELA Ratifies Resolution to College Dispute

The Executive of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) Further Education Lecturers’ Association (FELA) has unanimously agreed to ratify a resolution to the national college dispute, as agreed with the employers’ body Colleges Scotland last week. Should Colleges Scotland also ratify the agreement at its meeting tomorrow, this will end the dispute and halt the programme of strike action that has been taking place in colleges across Scotland over the past two months.

The employers' side is due to meet on Wednesday where it is hoped they will take a similar view. 

STUC Women’s Committee Petition for Universal Free School Meals

The STUC Women’s Committee is campaigning for the extension of universal free school meals to all nursery, primary and secondary children, including during school holidays. The EIS shares this policy goal. Please take a minute to sign the petition.

Delivering the Alternative Certification Model

Wednesday 5th May, 4.30pm-6.00pm

The EIS has organised a joint webinar event with the SQA for Secondary and FE members, which will focus on the National Qualifications Alternative Certification Model (ACM).

Andrea Bradley, EIS Assistant Secretary and Jean Blair, SQA Director of Operations will each present on key aspects of the ACM, providing explanation and clarification around key components, and will respond to questions submitted in advance by members. 

Members can register on our website.

Further and Higher Education Hustings

Thursday 29th April 2021, 6:30pm-8:30pm

The EIS Further and Higher Education Hustings for the 2021 Scottish Elections is an opportunity for members to ask questions regarding the future of Further and Higher Education to representatives of the political parties that were elected to parliament at the last parliamentary election. 

Representatives will be responding to members' questions as well as giving a short speech regarding their party's education policies.

More information can be found on our website.

STUC International Workers Memorial Day Commemoration

Wednesday 28th April, 10:45am - 12pm

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don't die of mystery ailments, or in tragic "accidents". They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn't that important a priority. International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) 28 April commemorates those workers.

The theme of this year’s IWDM is: Health and Safety is a human right. 

Speakers include:

  • Chair: Rozanne Foyer: STUC General Secretary
  • Pauline Rourke: CWU
  • Gary Smith: GMB
  • Phyllis Craig: Action for Asbestos Scotland
  • Professor Andy Waterson
  • Others TBC

All members are invited to register for this event.

Call for Members to join Focus Group for Autism Appropriate Workplaces Resource

The EIS Equality Committee has decided to develop a resource about Autism Appropriate Workplaces, to highlight Autistic teachers’ contributions to the profession, facilitate greater knowledge about Autism amongst our membership to ensure workplaces are more appropriately suited to Autistic members, and to foster improved Union support to Autistic teachers in any workplace issues.

To support the EIS in developing a resource that reflects the experiences of our Autistic members, we are looking for a group of Autistic members to take part in a short survey, follow-up focus group discussion, and to shape the content of the resource as well as providing feedback on drafts.

The initial meeting of the focus group will take place on the 27th May, 5-6pm. For further information, and to note your interest, email cstarko@eis.org.uk.

Project Opportunity for Disabled Members

At a meeting of Disabled EIS members in January, members highlighted that further work is required to ensure their lived experience and contributions to the profession are better understood and celebrated. The EIS is excited to announce the commissioning of participatory film-makers Media Education to facilitate the making of a short film, to be developed with a group of Disabled EIS members.

Project participants will design and take part in the film, based on their own lived experience as a Disabled teacher/lecturer. Participation in the project is open to all members who identify as being disabled, or who would be considered disabled under the Equality Act 2010 - this includes Autistic members, and members with ADD/ADHD, mental health conditions, as well as others.

You will be supported every step of the way by the Media Education facilitators and the EIS Education and Equality Department. Five one-hour workshops will form the foundation of the project and provide any relevant skills you need. The first two workshops will take place on Tuesday 8th June and Tuesday 15th June 5-6pm, with subsequent meetings to be scheduled after the summer break. 

If you would be interested in taking part, please contact cstarko@eis.org.uk with a brief explanation of why you would like to be involved. 

EIS Action Research Grants 2021-2022

Applications for the EIS Action Research Grants 2021 - 2022 are now open and the deadline for application has been extended until the 14th May.

Successful applicants can access £500 of funding to facilitate professional enquiry and potential subsequent action and offer teaching professionals the opportunity for personal and professional development.

Researchers are further supported by regular peer-support meetings and guidance from academic partners to enhance their projects and wider professional learning. EIS Action Researchers go on to present at conferences and events across Scotland and share their findings in a variety of formats with the wider sector.

For a list of possible topics and information on how to apply visit the EIS website.

Our Well-being Matters Programme

Each Tuesday evening, we explore a different aspect of well-being, with upcoming topics including:

  • Practical Gardening and Well-being – 4th May

  • Mindful Photography – 11th May

  • Self-Care as Radical Resistance – 18th May

  • Sustainability and Well-being – 25th May

For more information and to book your place on any of the workshops and webinars, please visit the programme page

Topics covered so far include: human rights, creative writing, mindful doodling, nutrition, money matters, and digital well-being. Resources on all of these topics are available on the programme page.