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Teachers face being subjected to alcohol and drug testing at work without any justification and without appropriate safeguards, representatives at the Annual Conference of NASUWT Scotland-The Teachers’ Union have heard today.
 
The introduction of ‘random’ and ‘with cause’ alcohol and drugs tests are being planned by some local authorities in Scotland despite reservations being expressed by the NASUWT and other professional bodies about their appropriateness and despite a lack of information for employees about how the results will be used, representatives at the Conference, which is being held in Glasgow, have heard.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Clearly teachers, as with all employees, have a responsibility to meet appropriate professional standards in respect of their conduct in the workplace. However, there are already procedures in place to deal with any situations where teachers are failing to meet these standards or where their behaviour is causing concern.
 
“The NASUWT has not been presented with any information to justify the introduction of drug and alcohol testing of teachers and the Union is concerned that these tests are being brought in without any clear communication over the consequences for teachers.
 
“The NASUWT will be opposing the introduction of such tests which are, in our view, simply designed to be yet another punitive pressure on teachers.”
 
Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
 
“The introduction of drug and alcohol testing sets a new precedent in policing teachers’ conduct and there are serious concerns about the implications for teachers’ privacy, as well as for their careers.
 
“Many teachers will no doubt feel concerned that testing could become widespread across local authorities and schools. Such policies threaten to further erode the trust and confidence, which is already at a low ebb, of teachers in their employers.”

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