SCOTLAND’s teachers – fresh from the “significant success” of their long-running pay campaign – are to turn their attention to cutting the time they spend in the classroom to 20 hours or less per week.

The annual conference of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), which represents more than 80% of teaching professionals, will get under way in Perth on Thursday and will discuss demands from some branches to reduce classroom time to as low as 17.5 hours a week.

They say this would allow teaching staff to spend more time marking and preparing for lessons within the working day, and reduce the amount of time they spend doing this at home in the evenings and at weekends.

Along with the reduction in classroom hours, teachers will also consider whether class sizes should be cut to 20 across the board.

The final conference agenda is published today, and includes a motion from EIS local associations in Glasgow and South Lanarkshire stating that workload and helping children with additional support needs (ASN) are “still major causes of stress for teachers”.

To tackle this they say unions should campaign to reduce class sizes to a maximum of 20 in all mainstream classes, and also “campaign to secure a negotiated reduction of maximum class contact time for teachers to 20 hours per week and to increase preparation and correction time to 10 hours per week”.

A similar motion from the EIS Edinburgh association calls for “maximum class contact hours of 17.5 hours a week” coupled with maximum class sizes of 25 – apart from practical subjects where it says classes should have no more than 20 students.

It wants these changes to be “progressed on an incremental basis” so they are fully in place by August 2025.

The motions will be put to the vote during the three-day EIS annual meeting in Perth, where teachers will gather after winning a 13% pay increase, staggered over three years, from the Scottish Government and councils.

That agreement amounts to a 13.51% increase over three years – including combined increases totalling 10% payable this year (2019).

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said that as Scotland’s largest teaching union and the oldest organisation of its type in the world, its annual meeting is one of the key events in the Scottish education calendar.

“This year’s event comes following the significant success of the EIS campaign on teachers’ pay – a campaign that was originally outlined in an AGM debate two years ago.

“While the Value Education, Value Teachers campaign has achieved its aims on improving pay, this year’s AGM will seek to move forward related campaigning issues – such as tackling severe workload, reducing class sizes, and improving additional support needs provision.”

Flanagan also said that “many other challenges” must be addressed.

He added: “We have a total of 59 motions to be debated at this year’s AGM – covering a wide range of education, equality, employment relations, salaries and organisational matters.

“The AGM will shape the priorities for the EIS, and for Scottish education, in the year ahead. While teachers have clearly welcomed the success of the campaign on pay, there are many other challenges that must be addressed to ensure that Scotland’s education system can continue to offer the best opportunities for all young people.”