Teachers urged to say how they can reduce their workload

Picture: John Devlin
Picture: John Devlin
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Teachers will today be asked to identify ways they can reduce their workloads in an attempt by Education Secretary John Swinney to address their concerns.

At a Scottish Government education summit Mr Swinney will invite teaching unions to come up with suggestions on how on how the burden can be eased on the profession.

The Education Secretary’s intervention comes amid anger among teachers over the increased work associated with new qualifications and concern about Scottish Government reforms.

The EIS is balloting secondary school teachers about taking industrial action in protest against “excessive and unsustainable” workloads.

Ahead of today’s summit it emerged Mr Swinney has written to EIS leaders, the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, NASUWT Scotland, Voice, School Leaders Scotland and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland.

The letter called on each union to provide specific ideas to support his aim. 
Mr Swinney said: “In the last few weeks I have met many teachers and it is clear one of the key challenges to be addressed is teachers’ workload. 
“I took early action to reduce workload for teachers and ensure the greatest possible clarity around the curriculum. But I am keen to work with the teaching unions, local authorities, schools and other stakeholders to make further progress quickly on this important issue. 
“That is why I have asked the teaching unions to provide me with their own specific, tangible ideas to reduce unnecessary workload for teachers and to de-clutter and streamline approaches in education.
“I have made clear that young people are at the heart of what we are trying to achieve. Proposals should therefore reflect the key principles of Curriculum for Excellence and protect the integrity of our national qualifications.”

Speaking on the eve of the summit EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan warned against suggestions that the Scottish Government intends to give schools the freedom to break free from council control.

Mr Flanagan said: “It is clear that the last thing Scottish Education needs at the present time is structural reorganisation. This would be a huge distraction and frankly a waste of resources and I would caution the new Cabinet Secretary against such a move. In terms of the role of local authorities, the EIS has long held the view that local accountability is important and that local authorities help to fulfil that function.”