Ross Greer: Action needed to ensure safe staffing levels in schools

The Scottish Government must deliver emergency funding to ensure safe staffing levels in Scotland’s schools, Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP has said.

Mr Greer made the call following the publication of official figures which reveal that 2,206 school staff were absent last week, including over 1000 teachers.

Ross Greer MSP said:

“Scotland’s schools were already short thousands of teachers before this crisis. The Government may have delivered enough cash to recruit 1,400 more but with 2,200 school staff absent in the last week due to self-isolation, it’s clear that further emergency funding is needed to ensure staffing levels remain safe over the winter.

“Teachers’ unions called on John Swinney to provide funding for 3,500 teachers over the summer, something the government’s initial funding fell more than 2,000 short on. The Education Secretary must now recognise the real anxiety felt by school staff and immediately work to bring supply teachers and those on temporary contracts into schools on a permanent basis. With flu season about to begin, absence levels are only going to increase, which will bring more schools to the point at which they have too few staff to safely remain open.

“The Scottish Government has failed to recognise the serious concerns of school staff throughout this pandemic, and it has certainly failed to take the actions needed to keep them safe. It’s time for John Swinney to take these concerns seriously and ensure safe staffing levels in our schools.”