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Scottish government urged to explain how it will tackle teachers' ‘unsustainable’ workloads

THE Scottish government was pressed for answers today on how it will tackle the “excessive” and “unsustainable” workloads trade unions say that teachers are facing.

Earlier this week, representatives from Scotland’s largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), outlined concerns about the increased stress felt by teachers due to the return to school during the pandemic. 

Union members described the ever-changing guidelines, increased and unrealistic demands and lack of support as “unsustainable.”

EIS head teacher and deputy head teacher network convener Lorraine McBride asked how the education system would cope if a large number of teachers become ill or burnt out. 

Scottish Labour has added to the pressure on the government, with MSP Iain Gray quizzing the government on what action will be taken to improve conditions for school staff. 

Speaking in Holyrood today, Mr Gray asked Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney how the government will respond to the worrying reports from school leaders. 

He added: “Does the deputy first minister understand the pressure which was put on head and deputy head teachers by the sudden shift from preparation for blended learning to preparation for a full-time return? 

“Pressure, which has continued as they now try to keep pupils and staff safe, parents informed, ensure health measures are complied with and deal with staff who are ill or self-isolating.”

Mr Swinney said that he “does not underestimate” the efforts of teachers who have worked to get children back to school, adding that current guidelines ensure that the well-being of staff is a high priority. 

He also promised a package of support for school staff, accepting the demands put on school leaders as they navigate the “extraordinary circumstances.”

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