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Education round up: Strike threat wins pay rise for Scottish teachers

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Issue 2645
Some 30,000 teachers marched for pay in Glasgow last October
Some 30,000 teachers marched for pay in Glasgow last October (Pic: Andrew McGowan)

The threat of strikes by the EIS-Fela union has won Scottish teachers a pay offer that goes some way to restoring money lost under austerity.

The offer delivers around 13.5 percent across three years. It is split into three stages—3 percent backdated to April 2018, 7 percent for 2019/2020 and finally 3 percent for 2020/2021.

This will take basic salary to £40,200 this year for teachers at the top of the main pay scale.

That’s compared to £35,000 a year for teachers working outside of London in England and Wales.

And the Scottish government has said it will address workload, recruitment and retention.

But details on the offer are still sketchy. While seemingly generous, the offer makes a bold assumption that inflation will not rise significantly in the next two years.

The government made the offer last Friday—three days before teachers were set to begin voting in a ballot for strikes.

The EIS-Fela executive voted to recommend accepting the offer. It is almost certain that this will happen.

The Scottish government would not have made the offer without the EIS-Fela campaign—which saw more radicalism among members than the leadership.

Charlotte Ahmed 

Battle over academy plan wins support from council

Workers at Galliard primary school in north London were set to begin a two-day strike on Wednesday o’f this week.

The NEU union members are fighting a plan to turn the school into an academy.

They struck for a day in January, for five days in February and for two days last week against the plan.

Governors want it to form a Multi Academy Trust with four other schools in Enfield borough.

The other schools are Wilbury Primary, Brettenham Primary, Fleecefield Primary and Raynham Primary.

The NEU said schools are “riding roughshod over the wishes of staff and parents”.

It said academisation would mean the school would be “effectively run on a business model”.

Leader of Labour-run Enfield council Nesil Caliskan said, “We should resist academisation as much as possible.

“There is now evidence to show academisation is purely ideological and nothing to do with outcomes.”

Bosses’ observation plan doesn’t make the grade

Workers at the Shrewsbury College Group were set to strike on Wednesday this week.

Teachers in the NEU union are fighting a new lesson observation policy. They held a successful walkout earlier in March, and struck for two days in February.

NEU rep Jean Evanson explained that the new policy would include graded observations. “Research has shown that grading is unreliable and subjective,” she said. Jean said the stress of grading can leave teachers with depression and anxiety.

Labour members and other trade unionists visited picket lines during previous strikes to show solidarity.

And more workers have joined the NEU in the run-up to the strikes. Workers plan a further walkout on Thursday of next week.

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