Wed 13 Jan, 2021

Regular voluntary testing should be available in schools as quickly as possible, to make reopening as safe as it can be Ross Greer

The Scottish Greens have welcomed new funding of £45 million announced for schools today. Introducing this fund, the Education Secretary confirmed that it would cover the cost of recruiting 2,000 additional teachers, a Green proposal agreed to by the Scottish Parliament in November.

The party’s education spokesperson Ross Greer has also emphasised that any reopening of schools to all pupils must be matched by the introduction of regular, voluntary testing for school staff and senior pupils.

The proposal to recruit 2,000 additional teachers came as part of the Scottish Greens’ ‘Safer Schools’ package, published in November. This suite of proposals, adopted and endorsed twice by the Scottish Parliament, also included the introduction of regular testing in schools and protections for vulnerable school staff.

Commenting, Scottish Green education spokesperson Ross Greer said:

“Parliament twice backed Scottish Green proposals for safer schools, so whilst its long overdue, the Scottish Government’s move to make recruitment of 2,000 additional teachers possible is a welcome one.

“The other key proposal we made for safer schools was regular voluntary testing for staff and older pupils. Instead of accepting this, the Scottish Government are insisting on more pilot schemes, which we simply do not have time for, nor do we need given the wealth of evidence already available. Regular voluntary testing should be available in schools as quickly as possible, to make reopening as safe as it can be.

“It’s clear there is considerable variation in education delivery across the country, and this is especially true for pupils who need additional support. Special schools have remained open, where staff are unable to maintain social distancing while caring for vulnerable pupils. We need to ensure that all staff are kept safe.”

Earlier, Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell asked the Health Secretary whether school staff would be considered for priority in the vaccination plans.

Mark Ruskell said: “It’s clear that if schools and childcare settings are to be reopened safely, then vaccinating school and childcare staff should be an important part of any plans. No one is suggesting they should jump the queue, but there needs to be a prioritisation of essential workers that need to return to normal safely and quickly.”

Get involved

More like this

Urgency needed on lung disease action plan

Thu 14 Jan, 2021

Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell has called for more urgency from the Scottish Government on the Respiratory Care Action Plan at a time when more than 80,000 Scots are shielding from COVID-19 because of lung disease.

At First Minister’s Questions Mr Ruskell raised the fact that Nicola Sturgeon announced that the plan was being finalised in her programme for government but there has been no updates since.

The First Minister did not provide an update.

Greens: Scottish Government must heed warnings on Carbon capture

Mon 11 Jan, 2021

The Scottish Government must heed warnings about the holes in its plans to tackle the climate emergency using untested Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology.

Research by the Tyndall Centre, commissioned by Global Witness and Friends of the Earth Scotland, reveals that CCS is not being developed quickly enough to address the urgent need to keep global warming down. 

Greater support required for self-isolation

Fri 8 Jan, 2021

The Scottish Government must improve the support available to those who test positive for Covid-19 in order to increase the numbers of people self-isolating, Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell has said.

Mr Ruskell, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s COVID-19 Committee, has called on the Scottish Government to widen the eligibility of its self-isolation support grant, to ensure everyone gets the support they need to self-isolate.

Mark Ruskell MSP said: