Education: how schools in Orkney are supported is a key function of the local authority. Teachers pay is negotiated nationally. This is not the case with Orkney College UHI lecturers.
It is Orkney Islands Council which decides how the education service is delivered. This directly affects the quality of learning and teaching children and students in Orkney receive.
Orkney’s main teaching union, the EIS, has published its manifesto for the candidates in the local government elections to be held on Thursday 5th May.
The manifesto calls for increased investment and enhanced support for schools, teachers and students to ensure the vital process of education recovery continues following the Covid pandemic.
Jo Hill, EIS Local Association Secretary, said:
“There is a very clear and urgent need to address shortages within the teacher workforce to support education recovery.
“This must include the employment of additional teachers, on permanent and secure contracts. Additional measures must be taken to address any recruitment and retention issues which exist, including further in-house leadership training, rent caps, building more social housing, better public transport, improving job opportunities across the authority and delivering faster and more reliable broadband to regenerate local communities.”
The union is also urging that Orkney Islands Council signs up to the national bargaining terms and conditions for college lecturers as Orkney College UHI lecturers are the last in Scotland to be on the national terms and conditions.
EIS-FELA branch secretary for Orkney College UHI, Oliver Gibb, said:
“The Head of Education, Leisure and Housing has now given a commitment that the Council will sign the national recognition and procedure agreement, which all other colleges have already signed, ensuring Orkney College UHI lecturers are treated equitably with all other lecturers across the country.
“Ensuring this happens as soon as possible is a key priority for Orkney’s lecturers and will be foremost in our minds when electing councillors on 5th May.”
The EIS is challenging all election candidates to make clear commitments which provide improved support for Scottish education.
The EIS will continue campaigning on these issues after the election but are calling on candidates to pledge their commitment to the manifesto ahead of the elections next week.
You can download a copy of the EIS manifesto here:
Anyone aged 16 or over on Thursday May 5th, resident in Orkney and registered to vote, will be able to vote.
The candidates are: