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EIS vows to fight Easter in-service

Glasgow teachers are threatening to boycott any move to force teachers to attend in-service training after school and in the holidays.

A consultation paper circulated to headteachers proposes that from April two of the five statutory training days should be during the Easter vacation. Two days would be at the beginning of each session and the fifth would be a matter for each secondary and its local primaries. Other courses would be run after school and in the evenings.

George Gardner, the city's depute director of education, says changes are necessary to limit disruption and cut down on supply cover.

Willie Hart, secretary of Glasgow EIS, dismissed the move as a non-starter. "Officers of the authority are constantly citing the willingness of teachers to turn out in their own time to discuss the annual analysis of SCE results, for example," Mr Hart said.

"But there is a world of difference between teachers voluntarily attending sessions which are central to their work and in which they have a direct interest, and putting them under a general obligation to take part in in-service at the behest of the authority."

Mr Gardner stressed that participation in Easter courses would be voluntary. Widening the options would also extend staff development opportunities. "Teachers have always undertaken in-service courses at Jordanhill during the summer and in the evenings, and these have been very popular," he added.

The paper circulated to heads makes clear finance is a factor. "The education service faces immense financial difficulty for the 1997-98 financial year and this will inevitably have an impact on the level of funding which may be available for absence cover."

It adds: "Frequent attendance of teachers at in-service where there will be benefits to staff in their professional development has to be balanced against the benefits which pupils will derive from continuity of teaching throughout the year."

Officials are also critical of the quality of in-service, suggesting it does not lead to benefits in school or within the classroom.

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