The majority of teachers say they do not feel supported through the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey has found.
Just over one third of registered teachers said they felt there were enough schemes in place to help them teach through the challenging period, according to the survey launched by the Scottish Government’s education recovery group.
More than 2,200 educators, which included early years and childcare professionals, registered teachers, support staff and school leaders, were asked about the support they received during the school closures and remote learning.
The survey results, released by the government, found that respondents were more confident in their own capability to support themselves, their colleagues and children, than they were about the system providing adequate support.
Educators were generally confident about the support being offered to support pupils through the pandemic, the survey revealed.
However, they had less confidence in the care being offered by the system to support their own wellbeing.
According to the study, school leaders and registered teachers were unhappy with the provision of support with just 34% and 37% content respectively.
The education workforce has supported our children through unimaginable pressure in this pandemic.”
Confidence was higher among early learning and childcare professionals, as 44% felt their wellbeing was being sufficiently supported, while 50% of school staff agreed the support was sufficient.
Despite this, figures also highlight that school staff feel they have the skills, resilience and confidence to support their own wellbeing, and that of their colleagues and of children.
School leaders were the most confident in this area, with 69% saying they felt they had the skills to sufficiently support their pupils, 67% to support their staff and 84% for themselves.
Registered teachers expressed the most doubt in this area, however, as the survey shows just 45% felt they had the skills to adequately support children and young people amid the pandemic challenges.
Guidance has arrived late and when it has arrived it has been convoluted and time-consuming.”
A third of respondents indicated that communicating with colleagues was the most helpful form of support. This often included virtual meetings and informal peer support.
Just 2% said local authority guidance had proved the most helpful.
More help needed
Many respondents stated they felt they required additional guidance, particularly around health and safety.
Registered teachers were also more likely to mention support for flexible working and workload as an additional support, according to the findings.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and candidate for North East Fife, Willie Rennie, said teachers have been treated “abysmally”.
He added: “Guidance has arrived late and when it has arrived it has been convoluted and time-consuming.
“Through it all teachers have worked incredibly hard to make remote learning work and give pupils the best possible education.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats want to help education bounce back by putting teachers at the heart of education governance, not distant bureaucrats or ministers. We also need to get every trained teacher into classrooms to reduce workloads and tackle oversize classes. That’s how we put the education recovery first.”
Scottish Labour education spokesman and North East candidate Michael Marra, said: “The education workforce has supported our children through unimaginable pressure in this pandemic.
“They have been forced to adapt to ever changing guidance, invent new ways of working to make their workplace safe, and they have defended pupils from Scottish Government and SQA missteps.
“They deserve better support which is why Scottish Labour is committed to an education comeback plan to invest in schools, prioritise vaccinations for teachers, and refresh the workforce with a guaranteed completion opportunity for probationary teachers.”
An SNP spokesperson said: “The past year has been incredibly tough for everyone. Scotland’s education system could not have continued without the hard work and dedication of all school staff, and we recognise the effort and resilience they have shown during this challenging time – we are extremely grateful for that.
“To support early years and school staff we worked with the Education Recovery Group (CERG) – made up of leaders within the education sector and local authorities – to develop guidance that would best support teachers and staff. We also recruited 1500 more teachers during the pandemic.
“The Deputy First Minister and the CERG have committed to ensuring the Scottish Government’s Covid guidance to schools and local authorities remains under review, and is updated as appropriate – and we will work with those within the sector to do that.”