September Members Bulletin

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Updated Guidance on Individual Risk Assessment for the Workplace

Following pressure from the EIS and the STUC, the Scottish Government’s risk assessment tool for use in individual risk assessments (your Covid age calculator) has been reviewed.

The guidance was updated on 4 September and some significant changes made to reflect the latest clinical advice on COVID-19, given that risk associated with certain conditions vary with age. While it is relevant to all staff, it will be particularly relevant to those who returned to work after shielding and anyone who has a concern about a particular vulnerability to COVID-19.

Any EIS member who was assessed using the old risk assessment tool should now use the updated version of the tool to determine whether or not their occupational health risk from COVID-19 has changed. Employers and line-managers should support staff to do this. The guidance and tool can be accessed here.


Updated Scottish Government Guidance on Schools

Some revisions have been made to the Scottish Government guidance on schools reopening, mainly around testing protocols. The full revised document can be found here, with the changes highlighted.

For ease of reference an extracted version of the changes can be found here.

The EIS has raised specific concerns within CERG (Covid Education Recovery Group) about the need for stronger guidelines around ASN and ASN settings (in particular) and on the issue of ventilation, now that winter is approaching. Work is now underway in both these areas.

The Institute again recorded its dissent from the guidelines in relation to their lack of specificity on physical distancing between pupils, facilitated by smaller class sizes, which remains a fundamental weakness.


Holiday Arrangements and Quarantine

The SNCT Joint Secretaries have issued the following advice (JS/20/81) relating to teachers and associated professionals who have booked holidays abroad or are planning to do so in the future:

Teachers and Music Instructors who have pre-booked holidays arranged prior to the announcement of quarantine arrangements (22nd May 2020) and who may be required to isolate after travelling abroad, should discuss this situation with their line manager as soon as possible and will be required to work from home, as per the arrangements set out in SNCT/20/76.

Teachers and Music Instructors who have booked or who book holidays after the announcement of quarantine arrangements and who may be required to isolate after travelling abroad, should discuss this situation with their line manager as soon as possible. 

Where possible arrangements should be made for working at home during the period of self-isolation.  If this is not possible agreement on how the time could be paid back during the school year should take place.

Other Associated Professionals covered by the SNCT agreements, not working within schools, will be required to discuss annual leave or quarantine arrangements with their line manager, which may include working from home, annual leave or unpaid leave.

Teachers and Associated Professionals who are required to travel abroad for compassionate reasons, eg bereavement or serious illness of a relative, should be treated the same as those who have pre-booked holidays arranged prior to the announcement of quarantine arrangements.

All are reminded that Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advice should be followed at all times when considering booking a holiday or travelling abroad.


Quarantine Arrangements - Letter of Advice

A letter of advice has been agreed by the SNCT Joint Secretaries on Quarantine Arrangements.

It has been distributed through the normal COSLA channels and has been uploaded to the SNCT Website. You can access the letter here.


Subject-Specific Guidance on Learning and Teaching During Covid

SSERC recently published their September STEM Bulletin which as a focus on COVID-19 issues, planning and support. You can read the bulletin here.

Education Scotland has published updated guidance on safe practice in PE. It can be accessed here.

Education Scotland has indicated that advice for Home Economics will be available in the Autumn and Scottish Government has stated that guidance for Music and Drama is currently being prepared. 



The EIS has made a submission to the Mark Priestley led review of the exam diet 2020. It can be read here.

The EIS remains of the view that simply planning for a “normal” diet in 2021, even with some slightly reduced assessment demands, is not an acceptable approach and we have been pressing both the Scottish Government and the SQA to consider a safer contingency around some form of continuous assessment to ameliorate the potential disruption to education from COVID-19 and the possibility of a the cancellation of next year’s exams.


EIS Guidance on Education Recovery: Curriculum and Pedagogy

The EIS Education Department has published initial guidance on curriculum and pedagogy in schools, taking account of current health and safety imperatives and the principles of Recovery as agreed by the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group. The suite of guidance is sector specific, covering Primary, Secondary, Early Years, ASN Primary and ASN Secondary and can be accessed here.


National EIS BAME Network Meeting: 16th September

The existing EIS Glasgow BAME Network has provided the opportunity for BAME Members within the Glasgow Local Authority to come together and share their experiences. During the pandemic, this Network has served as an important conduit for BAME voices within the Union.  The EIS Equality Department are now working with the EIS Glasgow BAME Network to develop a National Network for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Members.

This Network will be a space for BAME teaching professionals across Scotland to make connections and host discussions, whilst also providing specific training opportunities to address the prevailing barriers that exist for BAME teachers, and to grow your Union leadership skills.

Membership of the Network is open to all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic EIS Members. Sign up here for our first event and to join the Network.

The first meeting of the BAME Network will involve;

  • Welcome and background to the Network and EIS’ anti-racist work

  • Wellbeing and self-care in the context of COVID-19 and BLM

  • Networking session

If you have any questions please contact John at 


COVID-Secure Pedagogy for the Recovery Phase Webinar

Tuesday 29 September 2020, 4.30-6.00pm

Continuing the EIS’s support for members to provide safe and effective teaching through the coronavirus pandemic, members are invited to join this online twilight session on COVID-Secure Pedagogy.

This webinar for Primary, Secondary and ASN/SEN teachers will build on recent EIS guidance on curriculum and pedagogy for education recovery, exploring the planning and delivery of learning which ensures the safety of all young people and school staff.

To register for this webinar please complete the online form.

For further enquiries please contact Leigh Meechan,


Anti-Poverty Professional Learning by the EIS PACT Project

Wednesday 28th October 5-7pm or Friday 30th October  1:30 - 3:30pm.

The EIS PACT Project is offering a second module 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 of the module 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.


'The Value of Play in Early Years Settings' Webinar

Wednesday 30th September, 4.30-6pm, online.

Join us on Wednesday 30th September for a practitioner led exploration of play pedagogy in early years right now.  This online event will bring together teachers in early years and early primary settings to explore play pedagogy with practitioners from across Scotland, framed by recent EIS guidance. Please visit the event page for more information, and to book your place.

Our selection of online Professional Learning opportunities will continue to be updated over the coming months.  Please visit the Professional Learning Courses & Seminars section to access the latest opportunities.


Inverness College

A redundancy situation is live at Inverness College. EIS is supporting the branch and fighting against compulsory job cuts. A petition has been started by the branch to show support for those colleagues who find themselves at risk of redundancy and you can sign it here. Please sign the petition and share with colleagues.


Challenge Poverty Week

5th to 11th of October.

In recent years, the EIS has joined forces with the Poverty Alliance to contribute to national anti-poverty activity and campaigning. The Poverty Alliance have updated lesson plans for teachers to use during CPW that proved very popular among teachers in Scotland last year for primary, secondary and college students. These can be accessed via the CPW website.

The EIS itself will contribute to national activity this year by formally launching the EIS PACT professional learning offer for all teachers in Scotland. More information to follow.


Organiser Support

In the return to school, it is more important than ever that members are meeting and workplace reps are meeting with members. Organisers are available to hold virtual branch meetings in your workplace. Find your organisers contact details on the EIS website

Organisers are available to offer training for members and reps in schools in a number of topics including H&S training and how to ensure a collective response to branch level issues during COVID-19, rep training and branch organising training, at a time and date that is suitable to your members in your branch

If your school does not have a rep, contact your organiser for advice on how to become a rep and the support you can receive.