More Scots teachers needed for educational ‘recovery’ of pupils

More teachers will be needed across Scotland to help pupils' educational "recovery" from Coronavirus lockdown and offset the "poverty-related" disadvantages in classrooms.

Pupils are set to return to school full-time in August
Pupils are set to return to school full-time in August

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, has written to all local authorities across Scotland urging them to employ more newly and recently qualified teachers ahead of the planned full-time return of schools in August.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan warned that pupils will need more "counselling, support and nurturing" after a traumatic few months when they have been home schooled as classrooms closed.

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“At the moment, there is intense discussion around the process of how schools will reopen in August and clearly that is a pressing matter which we all need to attend to," his letter states.

"Beyond getting pupils back, however, lies an even bigger challenge about supporting their recovery from what will have been for many, indeed most, a traumatic experience.”

There have been recent warnings that youngsters from more deprived areas have disproportionately lost out during the schools lockdown, while educational attainment more generally is expected to have suffered.

“Tackling all of these aspects will be a labour-intensive process as children will need counselling, support and nurturing," Mr Flanagan added.

"To this end we will need more teachers, more specialists, and more support services.”

He added: “We have unemployed newly qualified teachers, recently qualified teachers, teachers on supply lists and temporary contracts – all of whom are anxious about their employment prospects for next session when there is such a glaring demand for all of them to be utilised in our schools.

"The GTCS (General Teaching Council for Scotland) has identified thousands of retired or inactive teachers waiting in the wings to be deployed but before we even begin to consider this cohort, we need to employ the staff already there. Teachers make the difference – let’s get as many as we can into our schools.”

A spokeswoman for local government body COSLA said: “Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and our continued main objective of getting the workforce in place to deliver the broad range essential services to our communities, we have had to adapt our practices and procedures to suit.

“The bottom line however remains that councils, in line with our agreement with Scottish Government, are fully committed to the employment of newly qualified, recently qualified and those teachers on supply lists.

“As well as support assistants and other specialists as required to ensure we draw from the full pool of talent we have available. We will do this on the basis of the needs identified of our young people and ensure we have the staff required in place at the right time."

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