EIS call for council candidates to back education demands

The EIS is demanding would-be councillors support calls for a 'significant increase in teacher numbers'.

EIS call for council candidates to back education demands in May’s elections iStock

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union is urging candidates in May’s council elections to back increased investment in schools.

The EIS is demanding would-be councillors support calls for a “significant increase in teacher numbers” as well as implementing a promised reduction of class contact time of 21 hours ahead of the next school year.

Scotland’s largest teaching union also wants candidates to commit to making local authorities implement “fair and transparent recruitment policies for supply, newly qualified and recently qualified teachers”.

In an education manifesto published on Friday, EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan warns that the council elections on Thursday May 5 were happening at a “crucial time for Scottish education” as schools attempt to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He wrote: “The EIS supports better funding for councils to deliver their education ambitions, but equally we believe that councils could and should be doing much more to address key issues such as the scandal of 10% of teachers being on temporary contracts, the dearth of support for additional support needs, and the need to remove unnecessary bureaucratic paper trails which simply add to workload.”

Commenting on the manifesto, Flanagan added: “The EIS manifesto calls for increased investment and enhanced support for schools, teachers and students to support the vital process of education recovery following the Covid pandemic.

“The EIS is challenging all political parties and all election candidates to make clear commitments to providing improved support for Scottish education.”

He added: “There is a very clear and urgent need to address shortages within the teacher workforce to support education recovery.

“This must include the employment of additional teachers, on permanent and secure contracts.

“Currently, around 10% of Scotland’s teachers are employed on short-term and temporary contracts – this is a scandal that local authorities must commit to tackling as a matter of urgency.

“Early delivery of existing commitments to reduce teachers’ class contact time must also be a priority, and steps to reduce class sizes to support education recovery must be taken by councils.

“We are also calling for urgent improvements in support for teacher wellbeing, including mental health, in the wake of the Covid pandemic which has heaped huge additional pressures on staff.”