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85% of teachers working in level 3 and 4 areas believe schools should move to a blended or remote learning model to protect the safety and welfare of pupils and staff, and over three-quarters (77%) believe their school remaining fully open is a political decision, rather than one based on safety.

76% of teachers across the whole of Scotland said they do not feel the Government is providing the necessary support for them and their school during the pandemic.

A survey of over 700 teachers across Scotland by NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, found serious concerns over the adequacy of the health and safety measures in place in schools and the level of protection currently being afforded to pupils and staff.

67% reported that pupils in their school have displayed symptoms of Covid-19, with just over half (51%) saying that classes or year groups had been sent home because of suspected or confirmed cases of the virus.

57% said staff in their school have displayed Covid symptoms.

Only a quarter (25%) of teachers feel the control measures introduced in their school are adequate with only just over a third (34%) saying they feel confident in the way their school is dealing with suspected or confirmed cases of Covid.

Just under half (49%) of teachers say they feel unsafe or very unsafe in their school, versus 16% who say they feel safe or very safe.

The survey also highlights the impact of the pandemic on teachers’ workloads, with nearly four in five (79%) saying their workload has increased or substantially increased compared to the same point last year. Remote learning preparation was cited as the biggest driver of increased workloads, with 74% saying they have been expected to develop and deliver remote learning provision in addition to their existing workload.

74% cited their current levels of stress and anxiety around work as high or very high.

Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“The NASUWT wants schools to remain open, but to remain open safely, with additional measures which prioritise the safety and welfare of pupils and staff.

“We believe that a move to blended learning with smaller class sizes in areas with the highest rates of Covid should be part of the strategy to managing and suppressing the virus, along with greater protections for clinically vulnerable staff and enhanced safety mitigations.

“We need better data on case numbers in schools, a system of inspection and enforcement of safety measures, rigorous protocols on self-isolation when cases do occur and more funding and resources for schools to ensure safety is not compromised on the grounds of cost.

“The challenges of developing and adopting blended and remote learning are clearly having an unsustainable impact on teachers’ workloads, which is why funding for additional supply teachers is needed so that schools can maintain consistent and high-quality learning provision for pupils learning in the classroom and at home.”

Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:

“Teachers do not feel the Government is doing enough to support their safety and that of the pupils they teach and feel ministers are failing to fully recognise the tremendous pressures they are facing in continuing to provide education to children and young people in these unprecedented circumstances.

“The failure to address these realities is risking the health and safety of pupils and school staff.

“Without action we will see more pupils being absent from school and more teachers being absent from work because of illness or because they need to self-isolate. We will also see more teachers succumbing to mental and physical burnout.

“We have already set out to minister the additional actions we believe need to be taken to protect the education of children and young people whilst ensuring that our schools can continue to operate safely.

“It is now incumbent on Government to fulfil its responsibilities to protect children, young people and all those who work in our schools.”

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