By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP, right, has called joined with the EIS teachers’ union for supply teachers to be brought in to help support teachers and pupils struggling in the current remote working arrangements – despite West Dunbartonshire Council saying things were going fine.
Ms Wishart, said: “It makes no sense for qualified supply teachers to watch the crisis from the side-lines. Teachers and pupils need every help they can get. Supply teachers have valuable skills and experience, and can provide precious additional support.
“They could be called upon to help those children that teachers consider would benefit from extra one-on-one support.
“Instead, I’ve been contacted by constituents who want to work during this spell of remote learning, but simply haven’t been given the opportunity. That is nonsensical.
“The Scottish Government wasn’t ready for the return of remote learning, despite knowing for months it was a possibility. Now it is clear that remote learning is going to have some part to play in the education of young people for some time to come. Planning for just a week or two more fails to recognise the scale of this crisis.
“The Scottish Government need to stop crossing their fingers and hoping for the best. There needs to be an urgent support plan put in place, bringing in every helping hand available, so that teachers, pupils and parents are supported as much as possible regardless of whether schools are open or closed.”
Meanwhile, in response to comments from John Swinney, pictured left, that he would “ideally” like to give parents two weeks’ notice before kids go back to schools but it may be less, Beatrice Wishart MSP said: “Teachers are working flat out to give pupils the best education they can in the circumstances, but these are difficult times for families and children who are missing out on so much.
“Parents and teachers need to plan their lives. But they can’t do this when the Education Secretary chops and changes with little notice and expects everyone else to pick up the pieces. National education bodies have repeatedly dropped the ball.
“Pupils and teachers will need more certainty in the weeks ahead. The Cabinet Secretary should also immediately seize on the catch-up opportunity that arises from qualified supply teachers being underemployed and bring them in to help those children that teachers consider would benefit from extra one-on-one support.”