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EIS funds lobby for teacher voice

The Scottish parliament will guarantee standards, quality and social cohesion in education, the Educational Institute of Scotland claimed this week at the launch of its campaign for a double yes vote in the forthcoming referendum.

Ian McCalman, the union's incoming president, forecast "major benefits" by having total control of education under a parliament with powers to vary taxes.

The EIS has put Pounds 40,000 into Scotland FORward, the broad-based campaigning organisation, and is stepping up the pace by emphasising a key role for education in a parliament. It is encouraging teachers to attend a series of meetings around the country in June and has published a leaflet for members and school boards.

Mr McCalman believed a parliament would defend comprehensive schools, attended by 96 per cent of pupils, and the distinctive traditions of Scottish education.

The parliament would stimulate a lifelong learning system, provide a focus for debate around major issues and a framework for developing a national development plan for education, a long-term aim of the EIS.

"We want to break from the past where initiatives were thrown at teachers one after the other without clear thought as to which would take priority and to the resources necessary for their successful implementation," he said on Tuesday.

Mr McCalman, a Glasgow secondary teacher, said the parliament would also address the "democratic deficit". Under a new system of Scottish government, structures would be "accountable, transparent and give access to all those with a stake in the system". The public would know how decisions were taken and the reasons for them.

Mr McCalman refused to be drawn on how a parliament would affect local government and its current control of education. The EIS is currently discussing the different relationships under a parliament, he said.

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