Health and Safety News School support staff

Education update – return to school must be driven by safety not politics

Inez Kirk
Inez Kirk

In a fast changing situation, the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, on Tuesday 23rd June announced plans for Scottish schools to return to full-time in August. This after schools across the counctry had been planning for “blended learning” and part-time school attendance.

Commenting on this, branch secretary, Inez Kirk has sought to reassure our education support staff members that the branch has heard their concerns up to this point and will continue to represent their interests.

Inez said, “We have received many calls about what it means for our members and their families.

“We do not have details on what this means just now, but going forward please be assured we will always represent you and your views.

“We have many concerns about how you will work and be kept safe at your work, and we will work with the council to ensure that plans include your views and worries, and that steps will be taken to ensure that your health and safety is paramount.

“Your safety is our prime concern and will be the centre of everything we do.”

“Please keep an eye out for updates as we go forwards and if you have questions or queries please remember to get in touch. You are our eyes and ears in the workplace and we need your views.”

Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary
Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary

Scottish secretary, Mike Kirby has also expressed concerns about this saying,

“This is a significant about turn which, given the lack of scientific evidence available at this stage, seems to be driven more by politics than by safety.

“The safety of staff and pupils must be paramount and any return to school must be led by the scientific evidence at that time and be dependent on crucial risk assessments to ensure everyone’s safety.

“Education budgets were already squeezed before the pandemic hit. While the Scottish Government’s pledge of £100m over the next two years to support children with their lost learning is to be welcomed, schools also face increased practical costs to implement the required safety measures. It is vital the Scottish Government steps up and provides local authorities with the additional funding urgently needed to ensure that schools can open safely whenever science shows the time is right.”