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Unions invited to submit deliverable ideas by the end of the week.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney has invited Scotland's teaching unions to identify specific, tangible ways to reduce unnecessary teacher workload by the end of this week.
In a letter to leaders of the Educational Institute of Scotland, Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, NASUWT Scotland, Voice, School Leaders Scotland and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland, Mr Swinney reiterated his commitment to reducing teacher workloads and called on each union to provide specific ideas to support his aim.
The letter was issued ahead of today's (Wednesday) education summit in Edinburgh, at which the First Minister and Deputy First Minister will meet teachers' representatives, young people, education experts, political leaders, representatives of local authorities, unions and other third party stakeholders to consider the immediate actions required to close the educational attainment gap and raise standards for all children in Scotland.
The summit will inform a Delivery Plan, which the Scottish Government will publish by the end of the school year.
Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney said:
"In the last few weeks I have met many teachers and it is clear one of the key challenges to be addressed is teachers' workload.
"I took early action to reduce workload for teachers and ensure the greatest possible clarity around the curriculum. But I am keen to work with the teaching unions, local authorities, schools and other stakeholders to make further progress quickly on this important issue.
"That is why I have asked the teaching unions to provide me with their own specific, tangible ideas to reduce unnecessary workload for teachers and to de-clutter and streamline approaches in education.
"I have made clear that young people are at the heart of what we are trying to achieve. Proposals should therefore reflect the key principles of Curriculum for Excellence and protect the integrity of our national qualifications.
"This is part of a crucial dialogue we need to have with all those who have an interest in improving Scottish education. This will continue with today's education summit.
"The summit will bring together teachers' representatives, young people, education experts, representatives of local authorities, unions, political leaders and others to discuss the actions required to close the educational attainment gap and raise standards for all children in Scotland.
"We intend to move quickly to ensure the outcome of my letter to unions, and the discussions during today's summit, inform a bold education delivery plan that we will publish before the end of this month."
The Deputy First Minister's letter has been sent to:
Larry Flanagan, General Secretary, Educational Institute of Scotland
Seamus Searson, General Secretary, Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association
Jane Peckham, Organiser – Scotland, NASUWT (Scotland)
Jennifer Barnes, Senior Professional Officer for Scotland, Voice
Jim Thewliss, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland
Greg Dempster, General Secretary, Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland
The full text of the letter is below:
Since my appointment as Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, I have enjoyed meeting with teachers from across Scotland.
I have made it a clear priority to reduce workload for teachers and ensure the greatest possible clarity around the curriculum. I have taken early action to achieve this. I am keen to work closely with you to make further progress.
The Education Summit on Wednesday is a key part of that dialogue and we have committed to publish a Draft Delivery Plan for education before the summer, with clear actions for the coming months.
To that end, I would ask you to provide me with focussed and deliverable ideas of what further actions should be taken, and by whom, to further reduce workload for teachers and young people and to de-clutter and streamline approaches. These suggestions should be as specific and deliverable as possible, with a clear rationale and anticipated outcomes to enable us to measure progress. I would like to hear your ideas in relation to primary, S1-S3 and Senior Phase, while ensuring a coherent approach across 3-18.
I have already made clear that young people are at the heart of what we are trying to achieve. Proposals should therefore reflect the key principles of Curriculum for Excellence and protect confidence in our National Qualifications.
If we are to make fast progress, these suggestions need to be considered within the process underway to develop the draft Delivery Plan. To that end, I would be grateful if your ideas could be submitted by close of play on Friday, 17 June.
The Education Summit was announced by the First Minister last month. See - http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/A-precious-opportunity-24f7.aspx
The Deputy First Minister took actions to reduce teacher workload soon after he was appointed to his new role last month – see:
In his speech to the EIS AGM on Saturday, the Deputy First Minister announced new standardised assessments will be marked automatically and will not add to teacher workload – see: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Standardised-assessments-will-not-add-to-workload-2565.aspx
Mr Swinney is also writing to members of the CfE Management Board to seek suggestions on reducing workload and improving outcomes for learners.