Teachers’ union fights ruling on nursery staff

EIS appealed a ruling allowing untrained teachers to run nurseries. Picture: TSPL
EIS appealed a ruling allowing untrained teachers to run nurseries. Picture: TSPL
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A NEW legal action has been launched to prevent one of the country’s largest councils appointing non-teachers to run nursery schools.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Scotland’s largest teaching union, has begun an appeal against an earlier decision which gave Glasgow City Council the right to have its nurseries led by those who are not registered teachers.

Last year, the EIS lost its case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, where Lord Brodie ruled it had failed to establish the council’s decision was unlawful.

The union said its appeal was based on the belief the ruling had “misrepresented” a number of EIS concerns relating to the role of nursery teachers and the status of nursery schools in law.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The EIS believes qualified nursery teachers are an essential part of quality education provision in nursery schools.

“We also believe that current provision in Glasgow, and the earlier ruling of the Outer House [of the Court of Session], fails to take proper account of the legal requirement for teachers to deliver education in schools. The EIS is appealing this decision to ensure that nursery-aged children can have meaningful access to a teacher in their school environment.”

Mr Flanagan added: “As schools in all sectors move ahead with the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, which is based on a seamless model of education from age three to 18, it is more important than ever that very young children get off to the best possible start in their education.”

Lawyers for the council have argued that Scottish Government guidance on pre-school teachers indicates that deciding on adequate numbers is a matter for individual local authorities.

Last year, a report by Education Scotland found “significant variation” in the access that nursery-aged children have to a teacher across the country.