1000 extra teachers recruited in Scots schools

Almost 1000 new teachers have been recruited, or will soon be in place, in Scotland's schools to meet the needs of the Coronavirus pandemic in classrooms, it has been announced.

Social distancing is now the norm in Scots schools
Social distancing is now the norm in Scots schools

Education Secretary Secretary John Swinney said that teacher numbers are likely to grow further as schools adapt to the need for smaller classes to follow distancing guidelines.

There are an additional 740 new recruits in classes already, with plans now in place to hire an additional 250, MSPs have been told.

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The extra teachers were unveiled as Mr Swinney faced questions at Holyrood about concerns over "excessive" teaching workloads expressed by unions leaders this week.

"We recognise the challenges faced by some schools which is why we've taken steps to expand the workforce," Mr Swinney said.

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"The most recent information I have is that local authorities have recruited an additional 740 teachers and there are plans in place for the recruitment of another 250 at this particular stage.

"We expect this number to increase as schools continue to assess the needs of children and young people over the coming weeks."

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The new recruits came from a £45 million fund announced by the Scottish Government earlier in the year. An additional £30 million has now been allocated to councils for more recruits.

But Labour's Iain Gray said Head and Deputy Head teachers are facing extra pressure as a result of the Government's late decision to resume full-time teaching in classes across Scotland.

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"This pressure has continued as they try keep pupils and staff safe, parents informed and ensure health measures are complied with and deal with staff who are ill or self-isolating," Mr Gray said.

"Headteachers cannot do all of this and also lead learning in their schools as they would wish to."

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Mr Gray also hit out that the "failure" of Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) to produce adequate guidance in teaching practical subjects, as well changes to courses and curriculums for exams.

Mr Swinney accepted that there were additional demands being placed on school leaders in the "extraordinary circumstances" being presented by the virus.

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"I'm confident through my dialogue with senior leaders in education and within individual schools that whilst the demands are significant, school leaders are absolutely committed to ensuring schools are safe and that schools are strong places of learning and teaching,” he added.

"Education Scotland is providing support to schools to enhance the work that is undertaken by local authorities.

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"We are putting in place a package of support which has been designed by the education recovery group to further assist this and we are trying to ensure that there are more teaching resources on the ground to assist in the delivery of learning and teaching for young people across the country."

Mr Swinney insisted that Education Scotland and the SQA are making "contributions" to these issues, including practical assistance for schools and digital learning platforms.

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Joy Yates

Editorial Director

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