John Swinney to meet headteachers amid teacher strike threat

Written by Gemma Fraser on 1 March 2019 in News

Swinney will speak at a conference on empowering schools led by the EIS union

Image credit: Scottish Government

Education Secretary John Swinney is due to speak to members of Scotland’s largest teaching union on Friday – a week after they agreed to ballot for strike action.

Swinney will give a presentation at the EIS’ Empowering Schools conference in Edinburgh, which headteachers and deputy heads from across the country will attend.

The conference follows last week’s decision by the EIS – which represents 80 per cent of Scotland’s teachers – to reject the latest pay offer and move to a ballot for strike action.

Swinney is due to host a question and answer session following his presentation.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan will also address the conference, outlining the union’s vision of an empowered school system.

He said: “The EIS welcomes the progress which has been made around realising a framework for greater school empowerment and believes that the partnership approach which has been adopted is proving to be more productive than a protracted political battle around legislation may have been.

“Central to this whole agenda is the need for greater professional autonomy to be facilitated, identified by teachers in the recent EIS survey as the single most critical factor in achieving an empowered system.

“There also needs to be more scope for collaborative practice, the second most cited feature from the survey.

“The issue of excessive workload remains as the biggest barrier to implementation but the EIS is reasonably optimistic that continued progress can be achieved.”

The conference will explore what empowered schools could look like in practice, the implications for decision-making within each sphere of the education system and the extent to which empowerment might lead to greater equity and enhanced outcomes for children and young people.

Gayle Gorman, chief executive of Education Scotland, and Maureen McKenna, president of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, will also give presentations to headteachers.

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