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Education should lead Scotland’s recovery from coronavirus, says union

EDUCATION should lead Scotland’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a leading union said today.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) launched a manifesto calling for a progressive expansion of the teaching workforce to reduce class sizes and end widespread zero-hours supply work.

It called on political parties contesting the Holyrood elections on May 1 to pledge the investment needed “to restore and build upon the solid foundations of Scotland’s education system and support progress to a fairer, more equitable and more just Scotland.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare some of the deep inequalities in our society,” said EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan.

But he said it had also underlined “the absolutely essential role that schools and educational establishments play in the nurturing and development of our children, in supporting the well-being and resilience of young people and students, and in the provision of pathways for achievement and attainment for all.”

He said that with more than 10 per cent of teachers on temporary contracts, a key manifesto demand is expanding the workforce with a target of reducing class sizes to a maximum of 20.

“The challenge around education recovery is immense and if we are to meet the needs of young people, Scotland needs more teachers,” Mr Flanagan said.

The union is also calling for statutory public-sector provision of nursery education, guaranteed minimum access to qualified teachers for all three to five-year-olds within early years provision.

The manifesto also calls for increased staffing in specialist and mainstream settings to meet the needs of pupils with additional support needs, the universal provision of free school meals, including over holiday periods and free musical instrument tuition for all pupils who want it.

The manifesto, For an Education-Led Recovery, is available at


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