Second teaching union to vote on industrial action over workload

Written by Tom Freeman on 21 June 2016 in News

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association will hold a formal ballot for industrial action

Marking pile - credit Tobias von der Haar

A second teaching union in Scotland is considering industrial action over “demoralising” workloads.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) has held an indicative ballot which showed 91 per cent were prepared to take industrial action short of a strike if necessary. The union says it has “no option” but to move to a formal ballot.

The move follows the news last week Scotland’s largest teacher’s union the EIS will adopt a partial work to rule over bureaucracy from exam body the Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA).


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Too much time is taken up with SQA assessments and their verification, unions say.

In a letter to unions last week, education secretary John Swinney said the Scottish Government was committed to tackling their workload. The SQA said it had already taken steps to alleviate teacher workload.

SSTA general secretary Seamus Searson called on the cabinet secretary to join forces with local authorities to “take control of the situation” by imposing limits on a teacher’s non-teaching time.

“The recent guidance from Education Scotland and SQA has not addressed teacher workload and SSTA cannot let the overload of teachers continue,” he said.

A spokesman for the SQA said proposals put forward by unions during discussions with ministers would have “compromised the integrity of the qualifications”.

He added: “The priority of the entire education system is to work together to ensure the best possible learning opportunities are provided to our young people. We are deeply concerned that, as a result of this action, these opportunities could be jeopardised.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said industrial action “would not be in the interests of anyone, least of all children and parents”.

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