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Ahead of the address to the SNP’s Conference tomorrow (Saturday) by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville, the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union is warning of the growing anger of teachers in Scotland over pay, workload and working conditions.

The Union is looking to the Cabinet Secretary to set out how she intends to ensure teachers have the pay and safe and sustainable working conditions to enable them to continue to meet the huge challenges they face in supporting children’s education through the continuing impact of the pandemic and beyond.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“Teachers have given an incredible amount in the service of children and young people, including in the most difficult and challenging of circumstances of the last 18 months. Teachers have had to navigate the chaos of the assessment and grading system, adapt quickly to remote teaching demands and to establish effective systems to ensure safety in schools.

“With high levels of Covid since schools reopened and the continuing uncertainty over the trajectory of the pandemic, it appears there is currently no let-up in sight.

“There remains significant concern from the profession about their safety in the workplace, particularly in relation to the changes to the policy on self-isolation. The Cabinet Secretary needs to respond urgently to the need for improvements to ventilation in schools and to ensure robust monitoring and enforcement of Covid safety risk assessments and mitigations.

“Teachers are increasingly angry and demoralised at the failure to agree a fair pay award which recognises the tremendous contribution they have made during the pandemic.

“The current proposals represent a real-terms pay cut for teachers. The NASUWT is once again making clear to the Cabinet Secretary that no option is being discounted by the Union to obtain a fair pay award for our members. The Cabinet Secretary has the opportunity to address this situation and to avoid further escalation of teachers’ anger.

“The Cabinet Secretary also needs to set out what she is going to do to bring downward pressure on workload and address the over-emphasis on bureaucracy which is disempowering teachers and undermining their ability to meet the needs of all pupils.

“She has already committed to reform of the curriculum and assessment, but teachers want to see a break from the past and clear signs that one flawed system will not just be replaced with another.”

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