Parents group and teaching union clash over filming claims

EIS said it was concerned about the group 'naming and shaming' individual schools and teachers.

Parents group and teaching union clash over filming claims Getty Images
Schools are currently closed to the majority of pupils.

Scotland’s largest teachers’ union and a parents group have clashed over claims remote lessons were being recorded.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) accused the group of trying to prove home learning was failing by filming lessons on camera and “naming and shaming” schools and teachers.

UsForThem, which claims to represent thousands of parents, denied allegations that it had asked supporters to record lessons and asked EIS to withdraw the claim.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan sent a cease and desist letter to UsForThem after teachers raised concerns about “requests being made … of its supporters”.

Jo Bisset, organiser for UsForThem Scotland, wrote on the group’s Facebook page: “Of course, as members know already, under no circumstances should recordings be solicited, taken, stored or shared.”

The EIS said it welcomed the statement from UsForThem, but said there was evidence of the group’s supporters endorsing the right to video what they wished.

An EIS spokesperson told STV News: “In our correspondence to this group today, the EIS has underlined other wider issues of concern such as the group’s apparent determination to show that remote learning has ‘failed’ and an earlier statement of intent to ‘name and shame’ individual schools and teachers for any perceived failure to meet this group’s expectations.

“The EIS made clear that we support the current lockdown as an approach to driving down community infection levels and reject any notion to downplay the risk posed by Covid-19.”

Ms Bisset wrote to EIS to explain that comments relating to recordings were in relation to a member’s child making a video diary for the group’s report of its findings and not a request for supporters to record online lessons – a claim she called “demonstrably untrue”.

Ms Bisset said: “We have absolutely no interest in having a feud with the EIS – but we can’t leave this accusation hanging.

“The exchange they have based the accusation on was about encouraging children to make video diaries of their home-school experience to share with others.

“As such, we have invited the EIS to withdraw the allegation so we can all move on.

“We have different objectives to each other, so of course there are going to be strong words and passionate disagreement, especially through tough times.

“But we’ve reiterated that we hold teachers in the highest regard, and want them to be back where they do their best work – educating the next generation of Scotland’s children in the classroom.”