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More than a third of Fife teachers unsatisfied with support offered for home learning, survey reveals

The survey asked more than 200 teachers in Fife.
The survey asked more than 200 teachers in Fife.

Over a third of teachers in Fife are unsatisfied with the current level of support being offered for home learning, a survey has revealed.

The survey, which was carried out by North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie, asked more than 200 teachers in the Kingdom how they were coping in the current lockdown.

Concerns over ongoing support and the increase in workload were prevalent among teachers in the region, with one in three respondents citing these issues.

The survey also showed that two thirds of teachers felt they had not received suitable continuing professional development for the remote programmes they are expected to use.

In total, 46% of teachers responded that they were not satisfied with the support received to provide home learning.

Of the 249 survey respondents, 80% were primary school teachers and a further 20% worked in secondary schools.

What are the key problems?

Among the reasons given by those who responded they were not satisfied with the support for home learning was the apparent lack of leadership from schools or council, as well as the lack of training provided.

Having to buy their own equipment because it had not been provided was another concern raised, along with the level overtime being incurred through home learning.

What could make home learning better?

The survey also asked teachers for suggestions as to what would make home home learning more effective.

Readymade lesson plans and resources or a national learning programme was the top suggestion, with more equipment being provided to teachers coming as the second most common answer.

Teachers also believed more training would be beneficial, as well as more consistency between the local authorities in what was expected with home learning.

Concerns over this year’s exams

The survey also found that majority of teachers surveyed are unsatisfied with the measures in place to assess pupils who were due to sit exams this year.

Of the teachers surveyed, 61% said they are not satisfied with the current measures, compared to just 39% who said they were.

“While it has been necessary to close schools for public safety, there must be more support for teachers while home learning continues.”

Willie Rennie, North East Fife MSP

Due to pandemic, exams in Scotland have been cancelled for the second successive year. Pupil grades will be determined by teacher estimates and a “quality assurance” procedure overseen by the SQA.

However, continuing uncertainty over the methods or guidance for the alternative assessment process was the top concern flagged in the survey.

Potential difficulties in assessing pupils based on remote learning was also raised in the responses, as was the increased workload implications of teacher assessments.

“Pandemic has compounded these issues”

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Mr Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said an “overwhelming burden” had been placed on teachers throughout the pandemic.

He said: “These numbers are a stark illustration of how teachers have been treated during the pandemic.

“While it has been necessary to close schools for public safety, there must be more support for teachers while home learning continues.

“Teachers workloads have been excessive even in normal times, and the pandemic has compounded these issues by putting an overwhelming burden on them for which they have not been given adequate support.”

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie.

Mr Rennie called for lessons to be learned from the periods of home learning and for more support to be given to teachers in the coming months.

He added: “We must learn these lessons soon, to help teachers while they still help their pupils with home learning, but also so that as we return to normal schooling that they take their issues and concerns on board properly.

“I am raising these concerns with Fife Council and the Scottish Government, they would do well to take them on board.”

What does Fife council say?

Responding to the points raised, Councillor Craig Walker – convener of the Fife Council education and children’s services committee – urged teachers to express any concerns they may have so they can be addressed.

He said: “We’re aware of the concerns raised and have processes in place to make sure our teachers have access to the guidance, training and support they need.

“I would encourage anyone who has any issues to speak to their headteacher in the first instance.”

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