EIS president issues warning to councils as school governance review looms
The president of Scotland’s biggest teaching union has warned local authorities in Scotland any proposals to weaken their control of school governance may get the support of teachers.
In a speech to the Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) annual conference in Dundee, president Pat Flanagan said support for local government control of education was “not unconditional”.
The SNP manifesto before May's election included a commitment to “ensure national standards” while “empowering local schools” with responsibilities currently held by local authorities. There was also mention of the creation of school clusters and “new educational regions”.
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This follows an increasingly toxic relationship between ministers and council umbrella body COSLA over the last few years, with COSLA resisting what it sees as centralisation of decisions such as teacher numbers by government.
Flanagan told delegates today Local Negotiating Committees for Teachers (LNCTs) had been effective in securing terms and professional dialogue.
However, “indications that some of the Attainment Fund will be passed directly to schools suggest a changing landscape in the governance and accountability between national and Local Government and schools.
“The EIS supports local democratic control but that is not unconditional,” he said.
He said it was “regrettable” COSLA didn’t support the cap on teacher numbers, and pointed to where the union had fought councils on proposals to cut the school week.
“We are clear that the decision to protect education spend or to make education budget cuts can be made at national or local level. However, these examples illustrate the need for a clear national framework to avoid budget driven postcode lottery at Local Authority or school level,” he said.