Teachers to strike over failure to '˜reduce stress and workloads'

SCOTLAND'S largest teaching union is to press ahead with a ballot on industrial action after expressing disappointment with a review of new qualifications.

Sunday, 1st May 2016, 11:42 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd May 2016, 12:52 am
Teachers have concerns over their workload. Picture: John Devlin

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said the final recommendations of an expert group set up by the Scottish Government to address concerns with the new system 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.

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EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Our members are clear that a significant reduction must be achieved in both the workload associated with the new qualifications and the excessive level of unit assessment, which impacts on both students and staff.

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“Following the Scottish Government’s decision to establish the review group earlier this year, the EIS decided to suspend any move towards industrial action while the group carried out its work.

“We entered into the work of the review in good faith, and worked constructively to attempt to agree a set of measures that would alleviate teachers’ concerns on workload.

“However, while some positive changes have been agreed by the group, the EIS believes that the final recommendations will not deliver the reduction in workload – particularly the workload associated with the marking of unit assessments – that our members are demanding.”

Any action would stop short of a strike but would see teachers ‘’working to contract’’ by boycotting any additional work and assessment related to the new qualifications.

A SNP spokesman said: “We have made education, and specifically closing the attainment gap in order to give every child in Scotland the same chance in life, a key priority.

“And if we are re-elected this week, the SNP will work tirelessly to support our teachers to ensure that they are well placed to provide the best education possible in our schools.”

Scottish Labour’s opportunity spokesman Iain Gray said: “No-one wants to see industrial action but teachers under the SNP have been overworked and undervalued.”