In what may be viewed as a fitting conclusion to the 175th anniversary year, and indeed to this book, the Institute has appointed its first woman general secretary. Given the changing demographic of the teaching profession, reflected in the membership of the EIS, this historic first is an important milestone in the Institute’s history. 

Andrea Bradley, the new general secretary, joined the EIS staff in May 2014 as national officer, before becoming assistant secretary in August 2015, with departmental responsibility for both Education and Equality. 

Formerly an English teacher, in Inverclyde, South Lanarkshire, and then a Principal Teacher in South Lanarkshire, Andrea’s EIS pathway is not untypical of many activists. Within a large, active EIS branch she first became a Health and Safety officer, then school representative, and later a member of the local association committee of management as well as being a regular AGM delegate.

Through the EIS, she became a long-standing member of STUC Women’s Committee. She is active in the European Trade Union Committee for Education’s Standing Committee for Equality, is involved in the work of Education International; and is a member of the Jimmy Reid Foundation Project Board. 

Commenting on her appointment, Andrea said, “It is an honour to have been appointed as the next general secretary of our union. I come to the role as the first woman to have held it but have been surrounded by strong, inspirational women since I joined the union – women reps and local activists, national office bearers and committee members, and EIS staff upon whom a great deal of our activity depends. Much of our proud past as a trade union and professional association has been built by women and we celebrate this in our 175th year.

175 years strong, all of us – women, men and non-binary colleagues – look ahead, resolute and determined, to take on the challenges that remain. 

The profession is steadfastly committed to ensuring good quality, equitable educational experiences and outcomes for our young people but is constantly hampered in its mission by insufficient resources. Excessive workload, large class sizes and lack of specialist additional support needs provision are firmly in the EIS’s sights. It is way past time for politicians to realise the real value of education as a social good and to invest properly in it. 

Better resourcing, greater diversity in the profession, a strengthened focus on equality within the curriculum, and enhanced agency and voice in all decision making that shapes the experiences of learners and the professional lives of teachers and lecturers, are goals that the EIS will continue to strive for and that as general secretary I will do my utmost to help achieve.”

“For the promotion of sound learning and the benefit of teachers.”