16 May 2022

Teaching union warns politicians: It is time to pay up

Teaching union warns politicians: It is time to pay up

Scotland’s largest teaching union is demanding a pay offer is made to the country’s teachers following delays.

A pay settlement for 2022/23 was expected to be applied from April, but the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) says local authority group Cosla is yet to present an opening offer to unions.

Last month, the pay settlement for 2021/22 was delivered – more than a year late.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said it is now time for “politicians to pay up” in order to ensure teachers do not experience “a real-terms pay cut” amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Flanagan said: “The EIS is demanding that an offer is made without further delay.

“Cosla has a record of making late pay offers, leading to long or stalled pay negotiations. The EIS has pushed Cosla and the Scottish Government to begin SNCT (Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers) negotiations in a timelier manner this year.

“The EIS has submitted a pay claim calling for a 10% salary increase for all of Scotland’s teachers this year. We are clear that this pay claim is essential to ensure that the value of teachers’ pay does not decline in the face of rising inflation whilst the cost-of-living crisis is rampaging on.”

It comes as the chief of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association told delegates at the union’s annual congress that secondary teachers “must be at the heart” of the Scottish Government’s education reforms.

Catherine Nicol addressed the union’s 77th annual congress in Crieff on Friday.

She acknowledged the hardships faced by secondary school teachers during the coronavirus pandemic – during which annual examinations were cancelled and whole classes and year groups were sent home due to infection or low staff numbers.

A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development into Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence prompted the decision for the country’s exams board, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, to be scrapped.

Education Scotland, the national body tasked with improving the quality of the country’s education system, is also set to have its inspection powers stripped following a report from academic Professor Ken Muir.

The changes are due to come into effect in 2024.

“The very nature of education is in question,” Ms Nicol said.

“Incorporation of vocational courses is called for.

“When curriculum change takes place, there is an opportunity to develop course content that would enable the collection of naturally occurring evidence that can be used to support professional judgments on progress and level of attainment.

“Factors such as the architecture of the school day, the structure of the academic year, and activities unrelated to direct teaching of coursework must be taken into account.”

However, Ms Nicol acknowledged “many in the profession will not be convinced that lessons have been learned”.

She told delegates: “Teachers must press for full inclusion in decision-making processes,” adding that an emphasis on supporting teachers in order to fulfil core duties will be “vital”.

The union will “stand ready to take action” if the next pay offer to its teachers is not “enough to retain our standard of living”, she added.

“The campaign for a 10% pay increase in 2022-23 has begun,” delegates heard, with Ms Nicol describing the last pay offer as “derisory and far below what we would have chosen to accept”.

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