EIS to ballot teachers over action on ‘excessive demands’

Larry Flanagan (left) said teachers did not take action lightly. Picture: Greg Macvean
Larry Flanagan (left) said teachers did not take action lightly. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Scotland’s largest teaching union has confirmed it will ballot its members over industrial action.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) says teachers are facing “excessive assessment demands” in relation to the new school qualifications.

At a meeting of the EIS council in Edinburgh yesterday, it was formally agreed to move ahead with the statutory ballot as soon as possible.

The union previously said the final recommendations of an expert group set up by the Scottish Government to address concerns with the new qualifications did not go far enough.

The group was set up in January to look at ways to reduce secondary teacher workloads and stress in the wake of Curriculum for Excellence reforms.

It followed an indicative ballot by EIS in which more than 93 per cent of members said they would be willing to take some kind of action over ‘’excessive and unsustainable’’ workloads.

General secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The decision by EIS council to move ahead with a statutory industrial action ballot is a reflection of the growing frustration within the secondary sector over the excessive workload that has been generated by Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) assessment and verification procedures.

“These excessive demands are placing severe pressure on pupils and teachers alike, have been acknowledged by government and education authorities, and yet the SQA, in particular, has shown little urgency to take reasonable actions to address concerns.

“Teachers do not want to take industrial action, and have shown a great deal of patience while talks have taken place.

“Now that this process is at an end, the EIS has decided to move ahead with industrial action.”

Meanwhile, the president of another teaching union has warned of a “growing recruitment crisis” within the profession.

Richard Bell, of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), said “more and more is being asked of Scottish teachers, but less and less are we being adequately recognised or rewarded”, as he addressed the union’s annual conference.

He said that without steps to support teachers, problems with supply are likely to grow into a recruitment crisis.

Mr Bell pointed to teacher workloads, and said staff are facing further pressure through the Scottish Government’s planned National Improvement Framework.

In his address, Mr Bell said: “From our unique perspective as a union across all the nations, we can see the corrosive effects of policy decisions which undermine teacher morale and have a negative impact on the educational experiences of young people.”