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Commenting on the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, announced today by the First Minister, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:
 
“The First Minister has stated today that closing the pupil attainment gap remains her Government’s overriding mission and the announcement of further investment in measures to tackle child poverty is undoubtedly welcome.
 
“However, there was little in today’s announcement which will help to address the issues of teacher workload and pay. It must be recognised that conditions of service for teachers have a direct impact on the education of children and young people and they must be considered as part of wider measures to ensure that all children and young people, whatever their background, can succeed and thrive.
 
“Similarly, the pledge to open up new routes to teacher recruitment does nothing to help retain those already in the profession, who are increasingly choosing to leave the profession due to the excessive workload burdens and uncompetitive salaries.”
 
Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
 
 “The commitment from the First Minister to providing greater resources and investment in mental health support for children and young people is welcome.
 
“Our members are reporting to us the increasing number of pupils they work with who are exhibiting signs of serious mental distress, including anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders.
 
“However, it is important the right balance is struck and that in providing training and resources to schools, teachers must not be expected to take the place of trained healthcare professionals.
 
“Given the increasing levels of stress and mental ill health being reported by teachers, investment in greater mental health resources in schools should also extend to supporting the wellbeing of staff.”

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