Under fire: drugs, HMIs, buses and Militant

14th June 1996 at 01:00
David Henderson reports, below and opposite, on the Educational Institute of Scotland's 150th conference.

* Pupils who misuse drugs or alcohol risk chronic lethargy, fail to form relationships, suffer general health problems, lose self-esteem and become aggressive, Aileen Scullion, a Glasgow nursery headteacher warned.

* Tougher school inspections in the north-east were condemned by local delegates. Bill Farren, Aberdeenshire, proposed ending anonymous questionnaires to parents. Mr Farren said that three small rural primaries were inspected before Christmas and by Easter three staff were in hospital suffering from stress.

David McGinty accused local inspectors of "acting dangerously outwith their professional remit" and of "riding roughshod" over local negotiations.

* Staff are not trained to cope with the excessive number of children with special educational needs who have been placed in mainstream schools, Mary Dalgleish, Aberdeen, said. The conference supported a plea to monitor the effects on workload, resources, funding and staffing.

Meg Heggie, Fife, said: "Education authorities are doing children no favours by putting them into classes and letting them flounder."

* Nursery nurses have been refused membership on a vote of 162-137 despite a plea from Gillian Kulwicki, a Glasgow nursery headteacher, who said she could not deliver a child-centred curriculum without them.

"Our jobs are inextricably linked," she argued. The union should be open to all those engaged in teaching and learning.

But Norma Watson, past president and a West Lothian nursery head, said it would be wrong to poach from other unions. "The cement that binds us together is the fact that we are teachers," Mrs Watson said.

* Legislation on school transport is "utterly inadequate", Ed Archer, South Lanarkshire, said. Coaches were being given "cherished number plates" to indicate they were older than they really were and avoid the requirement to fit seat-belts. Double-decker buses were also exempt.

* Teachers in Glasgow were "harassed and harangued" in their classrooms by members of Militant who campaigned for schools to opt out to avoid closure, Carolyn Ritchie said. Some staff were unable to continue teaching.

But Hugh Donnelly, Glasgow, said the EIS reaction to the issue of closures was "retreat, retreat, retreat".

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