Current guidance and staffing to support pupils with Additional Support Needs (ASN) is currently completely inadequate to provide a COVID secure environment for pupils and staff, a meeting of ASN teachers has been told.
The EIS ASN Network meeting urged local authorities and the Scottish Government to provide more detailed guidance and enhanced staffing to ensure that the needs of all young people can be met in an appropriate COVID-secure environment.
The online meeting, held this morning, heard from ASN teachers from across Scotland, who shared their experiences of working with young people, many with acute additional support needs, while attempting to work within COVID guidelines which aim to ensure a safe working environment for pupils and staff.
During the meeting comments from teachers who work across Special Education, within specialist ASN Units and in mainstream education included:
Commenting following the meeting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "Teachers working with pupils with additional support needs always want the best for these young people, and are doing all they can to continue to meet their needs while working within current COVID guidance."
"It is, however, extremely clear that the current COVID guidance is totally inadequate for teachers working with young people with more complex additional support needs."
Mr Flanagan continued, "Young people with additional support needs were amongst those impacted most negatively by the school closure period. There is a desperate need for more detailed guidance and enhanced staffing to ensure that the needs of all young people with additional support needs, particularly the most complex, can be met in a COVID-secure school environment."
"ASN teachers are currently going the extra mile – and potentially putting themselves at greater risk of being exposed to COVID – to attempt to meet the needs of their pupils. Pupils and teachers must have the support that they need from local authorities and the Scottish Government."
Mr Flanagan added, "The current situation, with ASN teachers being compelled to clean classrooms, including cleaning up bodily fluids, in order to ensure a safe environment simply isn’t sustainable."
"Pupils with more complex additional support needs and ASN teachers must have the guidance, support and resources that they deserve to allow them to learn and to teach without compromise to their health and safety, and with minimal negative impact on their wellbeing."