Education must not be political football

School pupils

But the EIS said there should be a proper discussion on education.

The union is publishing a manifesto and is calling on voters to question candidates about local education.

Some have expressed concern local issues could be overshadowed by Brexit and the possibility of another independence referendum.

The EIS manifesto highlights a number of priorities which it says councils should address:

  • The “excessive workload” for teachers and pupils
  • Cuts to school budgets
  • Support for pupils with additional support needs
  • Agreement on a national staffing standard to protect teacher numbers and ensure consistency of provision across the country
  • A commitment from councils to a “fair” pay increase for teachers

Education is one of the most important services councils provide. The Scottish government is currently discussing what sort of power over schools councils should have in the future.

It is looking at devolving more power to headteachers and creating new regional education boards. Decisions are expected in June.

Encouraging scrutiny

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The EIS is launching our Education Manifesto today to promote discussion on key education policies ahead of the local authority elections on the 4th of May.

“We hope that teachers, parents, students and other voters will find this a helpful tool to support questioning of council candidates and to encourage scrutiny of party commitments on education.”

Mr Flanagan added: “Councils are responsible for supporting schools, and are the employers of teachers and other staff who are essential in the delivery of education. It is absolutely vital that all local council candidates and all political parties fully appreciate the importance of education to their communities.

“The most important message that all politicians need to hear is that our schools, teachers and learners should not be used as political footballs to score party-political points. All local councillors – be they party affiliated or independent; in power or in opposition – have an obligation to support the work of our comprehensive school system.

“Scottish Education benefitted previously from a strong commitment to a partnership approach – both between the main political parties and between local and national government. That consensus needs to be re-established to ensure stronger support for our schools.”