Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has today sent a letter to Education Secretary John Swinney urging him to introduce urgent measures to employ qualified supply teachers to provide extra support for pupils who would benefit from catch-up support and extra one-on-one learning.
Her letter comes after EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan called for “the rapid employment of supply teachers currently seeking work to provide additional support to those pupils struggling to engage with remote learning.”
In a letter to the Education Secretary, Ms Wishart wrote:
"Teachers are working flat out to give pupils the best education they can. But supply teachers are telling me that they have consistently been underemployed since the start of the pandemic.
"I am writing to urge you to immediately lend your support to the introduction of new measures to employ qualified supply teachers to provide extra support for pupils who would benefit from catch-up support and extra one-on-one learning.
"I believe such a new catch-up mechanism, rooted in the judgement of class teachers, could help dampen the worst impacts of the pandemic on learning.
"The loss of routine, time spent with friends and full access to normal learning has been hard and children have missed out on so much over the past year. The evidence I am receiving is that supply teachers have the capacity to help bridge some of that gap, both during the current period of remote learning but also once schools return.
"They have valuable skills and experience, and can provide precious additional support. We should be looking to bring in every helping hand available.
"The nationwide package agreed in the spring for supply teachers helped with their initial predicament. But I believe there is now an urgent need to establish new catch-up mechanisms, and that supply teachers can be a part of this."