Tue 17 Nov, 2020

The Scottish Parliament is set to back more protections for school staff and pupils during the COVID-19 pandemic, in a debate brought forward by the Scottish Greens.

The party’s education spokesperson Ross Greer has proposed a motion for debate tomorrow [Wednesday 18 Nov] raising concerns over reports that clinically vulnerable teachers have been pressured to work despite the advice of their GPs, or told to turn off their NHS track and trace app.

The motion instructs the Scottish Government and councils to ensure that clinically vulnerable staff are supported to work from home or a safer alternative setting, or if this isn’t possible to be placed on leave without loss of income.

The motion also calls for regular weekly testing to be available for all staff and senior pupils and for the Scottish Government to fund the recruitment of 2,000 additional teachers to ensure that schools can meet safe staffing requirements which managing Covid-related absences.

As of 10 November 2020, 29,486 pupils and 2,615 staff were absent from Scottish schools for Covid-19 related reasons, with absence rates affecting areas with higher levels of deprivation more.

Commenting, Ross Greer said:

“For many teachers, support staff and their families, the return to full-time schooling has been extremely stressful, particularly since the second wave of the virus began. The very least our school staff deserve is to feel safe at work. Instead, they are being made to feel expendable.

"Teachers with serious health conditions are being bullied into classrooms despite advice from their GP, social distancing is clearly impossible and staff absences are bringing some schools close to the point of having to close.

“No one wants to disrupt the education of our young people more than it already has been, but this isn’t a choice between education and safety. If we don’t take these steps, like recruiting additional staff and making testing more widely available, greater disruption and even school closures will be inevitable.”

Get involved

More like this

Scottish Greens issue warning over fake green candidates

Mon 3 May, 2021

The Scottish Greens have warned voters that far right extremists and conspiracy theorists are standing at the election masquerading as ‘greens’.

These include Trump-supporting Alistair McConnachie, who was expelled from UKIP for Holocaust denial and is standing under the 'Independent Green Voice' banner.

McConnachie is best known for denying the existence of gas chambers at Nazi concentration camps but has also provided social media support to the Orange Order and regularly organises counter-protests to pro-independence and anti-racism rallies. 

Revealed: Flamingo Land offered 125 year lease at Loch Lomond

Fri 30 Apr, 2021

The Scottish Greens' Ross Greer has uncovered Scottish Government plans to offer Flamingo Land a 125 year lease on the West Riverside site at Balloch, should their controversial 'resort' proposals receive planning permission.

Greer has hailed this news as a partial victory for the Save Loch Lomond campaign and their efforts to keep the land in public hands. However, he has also warned that it is likely part of a plan from the developers and government to undermine the arguments used against their unsuccessful first attempt to build a 'luxury resort' on the site.

Scottish Greens Pledge to End Primary School Homework

Mon 12 Apr, 2021

The Scottish Greens are set to propose an end to homework in primary schools, pointing to evidence that rather than helping to improve attainment, it can often have a harmful effect on younger children’s attitude towards learning.