The EIS has welcomed the Scottish Government’s confirmation of ring-fenced funding to support the recruitment of an additional 850 teachers across Scotland – but warned that more will be needed to support young people in education recovery following the COVID-19 shutdown.

Commenting, following a Parliamentary statement from Deputy First Minister John Swinney this afternoon, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “The confirmation of ring-fenced funding to support the recruitment of an additional 850 teachers is a welcome step in the support required for educational recovery in schools across Scotland. It is essential that local authorities make use of this funding to recruit more teachers from all those currently available and seeking work – including newly qualified teachers, recently qualified teachers, and teachers on supply and temporary contracts. The EIS would urge the Scottish Government to clarify that this additional funding is open to employ qualified teachers from all of these categories."

Mr Flanagan added, “The  EIS  is clear that more will be needed to ensure that all young people receive the support they require to recover from the impact of the school shutdown and, as well as urging the Scottish Government to consider additional funding, we would encourage local authorities to use some of the flexibility open to them around attainment challenge funding and the pre-allocated monies for the now suspended expansion of pre-5 entitlement to further boost school staffing . Being away from the school environment for such a prolonged period will have had a detrimental impact on many young people’s education. Supporting recovery from this traumatic experience must be the top priority for all in Scottish education.”

Mr Flanagan went on to say, “Clearly, with less than 3 weeks until schools are set to re-open, it is vital that local authorities act quickly to ensure that the promised additional teachers and support staff are recruited prior to the start of term. It also remains essential that the process of re-opening schools is managed safely, with updated risk assessments to be carried out and all necessary mitigations – such as enhanced cleaning regimens, adequate ventilation and facilities for regular hand-washing – to be in place in all schools prior to them re-opening.”