Politicians should stop using education as a “political football”, the head of Scotland’s largest teaching union has said.
In last month’s election, all parties made ambitious pledges about teacher numbers and resources for the education system and Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, has now called on MSPs to unite to deliver for teachers and pupils.
Mr Flanagan welcomed the recruitment of 1,400 more teachers in the past year, but stressed that amounts to just half a teacher per school.
He told the union’s annual general meeting on Friday: “I do want to urge politicians of all parties to stop using education as a political football, and instead unite as a Parliament behind delivering the resources that teachers and lecturers need to address the needs of Scotland’s children and youth.
“Education recovery should be, in fact almost by definition requires to be, a national effort focused on the health and wellbeing of children and providing the resources needed across all of the education sector.”
Addressing the extra teaching posts announced by the Scottish Government last year, Mr Flanagan said: “Those posts were very welcome and did provide at least one year’s work for members, and that can sound impressive.
“But in actual fact that’s less than half a teacher per school, so that’s scratching at the surface of what is required if we’re going to see a genuine education recovery.
“We need a greater vision from the Scottish Parliament and we need greater commitment because what has been discussed so far is barely in the foothills of what has been required to address the needs of Scotland’s young people.”
During the election, the SNP pledged to recruit an additional 3,500 teachers in the next five years, while the Tories said they want to see 3,000 and the Greens promised another 5,500.