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Scottish teaching union calls for ‘army’ of support staff once teachers return to school

THE leader of Scotland’s largest teaching union has said every qualified teacher in the country should be employed alongside an “army” of support staff, as the government prepares to lay out its plans on Thursday for schools returning.

The Educational Institue of Scotland (EIS) has written to all the country’s local authorities, urging them to recruit the additional teachers required to support education recovery following the Covid-19 lockdown.

In a letter to heads of education, general secretary Larry Flanagan urged councils to “think big” ahead of pupils returning to school. 

Mr Flanagan raised concerns that discussions were “losing the focus on what the education recovery of pupils should actually look like.” 

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.

“Teachers make the difference – let’s get as many as we can into our schools.”

The letter comes ahead of a statement to MSPs in Holyrood on Thursday to outline the Scottish Government’s plans for reopening schools.

The EIS also highlighted the impact on educational attainment more generally and the potential damage done to children’s wellbeing and welfare during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mr Flanagan added: “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.

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

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

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