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Tonight's Glasgow EIS Open Meeting

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by halfajack, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    I'm surprised this hasn't been posted about already. Anyway, I'd like your opinions on the talk of industrial action. Apparently 'it's a matter of when, not if.' Near the end a member commented it would be very difficult for temporary teachers to work to rule when under pressure to do what they can to gain permanent employment. We were told that this would not be a problem if all members stand in solidarity and are supportive of temporary colleagues. Firstly, if the majority of members votes in favour of industrial action does that mean all members have to take part? Secondly (and I suppose only if the answer to the first is no), how would you advise a colleague in the following hypothetical situation: long term supply in a school with no union rep, where union activity is discouraged, no other staff attended the open meeting, seem unconvinced about the reality of threats and are unlikely to take part in industrial action if it's optional. How does that colleague play his part in the fight without being single out as uncommitted by a management team he's trying to impress?
  2. From a former HT's perspective I think that I would be fully expecting all staff to support and take imminent industrial action. I am confident that many Renfrewshire HT's would be taking industrial action themselves were it on the cards.

    I personally wouldn't see it as showing uncommittment I would see it as showing a passion for what you believe in and standing up for what it right - the delivery of quality education for the young people in Renfrewshire. Which is absolutely the priority here.

    If your colleague is apprehensive over what to do he should speak to other colleagues or approach the HT directly. He will have the support of his union and colleagues regardless of what he does as his position is understandable and not enviable in the slightest.
  3. This is a huge problem and as councils cut back on advertising permanent posts preferring to appoint 'temporary' staff to fill vacancies, it's one which is going to become more and more common and will weaken any proposed industrial action.
    If the school is staffed by non union members, there is no union rep and the management are not taking part in any strike action then it's difficult to see how any temp or supply teacher is going to receive a sympathetic hearing.
    I don't know the answer to this one.

  4. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Taking industrial action is never an easy decision and it is likely that the SG and LAs will use the media to discredit teachers who participate in such action. They always do.
    There are times, however, when it is necessary to make a stand. If Renfrewshire Council get away with their proposals, other LAs will follow their lead and the status of the teaching profession in Scotland will be changed irrevocably with the loss of many teaching, and other, jobs.
    Remember, that reduced requirement for 60 FTE primary school teachers will involve far more than 60 teachers given that many only have part-time contracts.
    It is no coincidence that they have started with a 'Revised Model for the Delivery of Primary Education' because clearly they see the primary sector as an easy target. However, as with a CfE, it is only a matter of time before they try a similar, cost-cutting exercise in secondary schools.
    As has already been said, a Curriculum for Excellence is neither a curriculum, nor excellent. It's a convenient, open-ended device to allow national and local politicians to deconstruct the education system in Scotland for political ends.
    We already have rotational staffing as a result of the Teacher Induction Scheme. Now Renfrewshire Council is proposing to have rotational 'enrichment' staff to replace qualified teachers. Where will it end?
    Get pupils to 'teach' themselves and then, in theory, you don't need professionally trained teachers with subject knowledge. Just keep children, and young people, entertained and 'active' and they will all 'learn' automatically - if only.
    When EIS members receive their ballot papers on proposed industrial action they need to be aware that their response could influence the whole of Scottish Education.
    Now is the time to stick a finger in the dyke before the seemingly innocuous trickle of 'educational reform' becomes a destructive torrent of political, financial expediency.
    'Do you hear the people sing ...?' [​IMG]
  5. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    They're all union members - just not active members. They need someone to stir them into action and persuade them that the cuts are real and will affect THEM. I don't think a temp member of staff is the one to do that.
  6. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    The issues are too big here for people to sit on the sidelines. I understand your position, you just have to box clever ...
    Since you have no rep, contact a local EIS official and ask him/ her to get in touch with members at the school with a view to organising a meeting. Ask him / her to contact the HT to facilitate the meeting by offering a room. (The HT will not dare to refuse if the request comes from the local EIS secretary for example.) Get someone from the permanent staff elected as rep or yourself if you are willing.Take it from there.

  7. sbf

    sbf New commenter

    Just a shame there are still many Secondary teachers in the EIS and not in the SSTA.
    Then at least the issues regarding primary and secondary could be split.
    Not sure i would favour strike action over primary staff issues any more than other will over things like secondary conserved salaries.
    Look at the way the government treated the SSTA regarding CfE.

  8. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    Agree 100%. (No surprises there though!)
    You may be surprised at my response here: secondary teachers have nothing to gain from doing down their primary colleagues and everything to lose if they fail to support them. The kids we teach are the kids our primary colleagues send on to us.
    That said, there are issues where the two sectors have a differing focus and CfE is one of those. The abject failure of the EIS to step up to the mark over CfE is an indication of the interests of its leadership and the influence of the primary sector for whom CfE has not been such a challenging issue as in secondary. (That's not to say that many primary colleagues are not concerned about some CfE issues.)
    I would certainly be prepared to support my primary colleagues over an issue such as using unqualified staff instead of teachers. That's a fundamental union issue and an educational quality issue also. However, I would never dream of attempting to tell my primary colleagues how they should run their curriculum or teach their pupils. I'll leave that to politicians like Mike Russell.

  9. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    Sounds like a plan. Thanks.
  10. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    Are there that many issues at the moment that don't cross sectors? Anyway, I read on another posts that ballots can be split so that primary issues can only be voted on by primary teachers, etc. For what it's worth I'd be just as happy to take action to stop the nonsense proposed in Renfrewshire primaries as I would to protect my own working conditions (secondary). The country's going to the dogs, especially the education system it seems, and we need to stand together on all fronts.
  11. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Which, of course, is exactly what the politicians are planning to do - split the unions, split the primary and secondary sectors, divide and rule!
    In many if not most primary schools, textbooks, workbooks, worksheets, jotters and anything resembling a structured programme of work are now strongly discouraged, if not actually banned. Pupils must be allowed to choose what they want to learn in an 'active' way.
    In a very short time, or perhaps even already, current primary pupils will be secondary pupils. Why do I suspect that the next stage in the great CfE experiment will be to get secondary schools to ditch formal coursework at least at S1-2, if it has not already happened?
    Let's not forget that the average cost of educating a secondary pupil far exceeds that of educating a primary pupil.
    The Renfrewshire proposals are just the start. If they succeed in replacing qualified primary teachers with other staff, under the guise of a European-funded job creation exercise, they won't stop there.
    This is a time for all teachers, and unions, to be united in defending the status of the teaching profession in Scotland and the quality of education in our schools.
  12. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    I think you'll find that's exactly what is about to happen. SSTA has decided not to accept COSLA's package and I believe EIS has made the same decision (thank goodness). It's perfecly possible for the two unions to cooperate but it would be much more sensible if that cooperation was based on each union focusing on issues of particular interest to their members. There are differences in terms of curriculum and working conditions. The EIS seems happy enough to have a Further Education Lecturers' Association. I don;t see why the same could not be done for secondary teachers. Until they do that, there's the SSTA.
  13. This is not about Primary staff issues. This is an attack on teacher professionalism and education in general. Schools are not babysitting services and children deserve qualified teachers in bot hPrimary and Secondary.
  14. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    So, how about the SSTA widening their sphere of influence and renaming themselves the Scottish Primary and Secondary Teachers' Association (SPSTA)?
    They could have two sections (Primary & Secondary) with each section focusing on issues of particular interest to their members. The EIS could do the same.
    That would allow greater choice for all teachers and provide a challenge to the dominance of the EIS in negotiations over salaries and conditions of service.
  15. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    Interesting idea. My impression of the SSTA is that they don't do enough to 'market' themselves to NQT's. I was a member of the EIS (because it seemed the dominant and default option) and only found out about the SSTA in passing: a colleague mentioned it. Further investigation on my part, prompted by Threads on here and the 'threat' to Secondary Education from ACfE, helped me decide to change unions. I'm so glad I did.
    Every staffroom seems well stocked with EIS news (usually above the photocopier) but SSTA news/bulletins etc are lacking visibility. The EIS appear to have more money to spend on good quality printing and design.
    Just out of interest, and only marginally related, does anyone know the teacher numbers for the Primary sector as opposed to the Secondary sector?
  16. JPM1967

    JPM1967 New commenter

    Statistics as at September 2010 were as follows:
    Primary 23,160
    Secondary 24,849
    There were also 1,913 teachers in Special schools and 722 employed centrally (LTS etc.)
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    On a point of accuracy about the Renfrewshire situation - only the primary members of the EIS will be balloted in the same way as only the secondary members were balloted about class sizes a couple of years ago. Hopefully there will be a stronger response from the primary members.
  18. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    Thanks for that [​IMG] So, not much of a difference in terms of numbers. Hmmmm. So next question: What is the breakdown of union membership tween EIS and SSTA? It's not about fifty fifty is it?
    Why are so many secondary teachers in the EIS and the SSTA is viewed as a less popular union? Imo their (SSTA) service is so much better, timely and really informative. But they obviously don't have the lion's share of the secondary teacher membership.
  19. Unfortunately in some staff rooms they are NOT all union members. Believe it or not there are staff rooms out there with teachers who do not belong to any union (more fool them I say). There is also the problem of different unions advocating different responses.
    I remember in the 80's when we were last forced into industrial action. The EIS members came out on strike and PAT members turned up and claimed their pay - it caused a lot of bitterness and divided staff rooms.
    As for the temporary staff - you're right - they're not going to wield any influence.
    It's the management who hold the key to that. If the Heidie and deputes support industrial action and come out then it is much more likely the rest of the staff will follow suit.
    I for one will be right at the front leading my troops. Just for the record all my staff are EIS because they are actively encouraged to join and the potential consequences (false allegations of misconduct etc) of not being a union member are very clearly pointed out to them.
  20. Sorry, it's still early on a Saturday morning. That last bit doesn't read very clearly.
    Teachers who join our staff are actively encouraged to join the union on the grounds that if, in the unlikely event, a pupil or a parent makes accusations against them they need to be in a union to ensure they receive proper legal representation etc. As the majority of staff are EIS, this is the union we promote.
    The fact that there are a number of teaching unions or associations (SSTA, EIS, PAT, Association of Head Teachers) is a problem in itself - divide and conquer!
    They all need to be saying the same thing at the same time.

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