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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-09680: Annie Wells (Glasgow)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 14 June 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the recent EIS survey, in which 86% of respondees said that they believed that their burden has increased in the last year, with 19% saying that they would not recommend teaching as a profession.

Answered by: John Swinney 21 June 2017

The Scottish Government takes the views of teachers extremely seriously and we have announced concrete proposals to address teacher workload issues.

On 29 August last year, Education Scotland published clear, practical advice for teachers and practitioners on what they should and should not be expected to do when planning learning, teaching and assessment. Definitive benchmark guidance has been published for all the curriculum areas to support teachers’ judgement when assessing learner progress from pre-school through to S3. The report of Education Scotland’s review of the Curriculum for Excellence demands placed on schools by local authorities was published on 19 September 2016 and its findings should empower teachers to challenge unnecessary workload demands.

We have also taken concrete steps to reduce workload related to the National Qualifications. In September last year, I announced the removal of mandatory unit assessments from National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications. The removal of the units will free up time for teachers to spend with their students. Teachers will not have to undertake the formal unit assessments except under exceptional circumstances. This is what the EIS and others told us was significantly contributing to workload, and was welcomed by the EIS when announced.

I also meet with the Chief Executive of SQA every month to consider what action can be taken to improve the position on teacher workload yet further.