An Angus primary teacher has spoken out about ‘unacceptable’ practices happening in schools as a result of the pandemic.
The woman – who has asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job – says the situation within schools is so ‘bleak’ many teachers have ‘had enough’.
She says she and every other teacher she knows has contracted Covid at least twice, and high teaching staff absences due to the virus are forcing schools to run on ‘skeleton staffing levels’.
She said: “One school locally currently has 11 teachers off with Covid.
“There are not enough supply teachers to cover the absences, therefore, children’s learning is suffering.
“Sometimes unqualified support staff are being put in front of classes. This is not acceptable.”
And it’s not just staff absences which are concerning this teacher – she says there have been at least two pupils absent from her class every day of this academic year.
As a result many teachers are expected to take class while simultaneously delivering home learning to children who are isolating.
She said: “This is not sustainable. No one else is expected to do two jobs at once.
“The situation is so bleak that many teachers, especially in primary, have had enough.”
She says many primary school teachers have been concerned about ‘lax Covid regulations’ for months and those who are vulnerable have either taken early retirement, gone on long term sick or left teaching altogether.
The woman added: “Ventilation is a huge issue. Open windows, especially in winter months, has seen children and teachers learning in unacceptable temperatures – some as low as 5 degrees.
“We feel forgotten about and not important enough to protect from Covid and that young children in our classes are not protected either.”
A spokeswoman for Angus Council said the council continues to follow Scottish Government guidance in respect of Covid mitigations.
She said: “Whilst we continue to experience levels of pupil and staff absence, school leaders are making the necessary arrangements so that our schools can safely remain open.
“This includes redeploying school staff and staff from our central teams as required.
“We encourage our teaching staff to report any concerns they may have through their Head Teacher in order that they can be addressed.”