Teachers in Scotland begin industrial action over 'excessive workloads'

The SSTA teaching union in say industrial action short of a strike has begun in order to 'protect' Scottish teachers and pupils

Rachael Pells
Education Correspondent
Monday 24 October 2016 11:57 BST
he Scottish government pledged to reduce workload pressures for teachers and remove mandatory unit assessments from both National 5 and Higher exams
he Scottish government pledged to reduce workload pressures for teachers and remove mandatory unit assessments from both National 5 and Higher exams (Getty)

Secondary school teachers in Scotland are taking part in industrial action following a dispute over their “excessive workloads”.

Members of the SSTA teaching union voted 91 per cent in favour of the action, which a third of secondary teachers are taking part in on Monday.

The union welcomed a move by the Scottish government to reduce workloads but argued it was unlikely to have an impact in time for the current academic term.

EIS, Scotland's largest teaching union, suspended its programme of industrial action on teacher workload following an announcement that assessments included in some exams are to be scrapped.

Education Secretary and Deputy First Minister John Swinney urged union members not to participate in the strike.

SSTA general secretary Seamus Searson said: “Unfortunately, there has not been any progress on the situation in regard to National 4 [exams] and no reduction in workload pressure for both pupils and teachers in the current session.”

Scottish independence plausible within 'two year' Brexit period

President Euan Duncan added: “The SSTA's view is that teacher workload has not, and is unlikely to be, significantly reduced in the current session, especially in the area of national qualifications.

”We therefore have no option but to move into industrial action to protect another cohort of young people and our members.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said the removal of mandatory unit assessments would “significantly reduce” the workload of teachers.

He said: “It is disappointing that SSTA have decided to commence industrial action, especially at a time when EIS have suspended action in recognition of the work we are doing to ease the burden on teachers.

”Over the past few months, the Scottish Government has listened carefully to what teachers, parents, young people and others have had to say on workload, and have responded positively with a range of actions to help reduce workload pressures.

“We have also taken swift action in response to feedback from teachers and others, to de-clutter the curriculum guidance and review the workload demands placed on teachers by local authorities.

”As these measures bed in, we ask teachers to continue to work with us to ensure that together we can create more time to teach our young people, and help contribute to closing the attainment gap.“

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in