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SASW stands by teachers and schools

SASW urges the Scottish Government to confirm that school staff are to be in the same priority for vaccination as health and social care staff – Priority 2.

Education settings have effectively shut for students who are not the children of key workers or already identified as vulnerable.  There is considerable political discussion around the impact this has on young people and families, not just from the perspective of formal education and exam results but from the experiences of social life our young people need to develop. 

Education settings, of course, are also places where teachers and other staff pick up additional support needs, identify potential risks of harm and can refer to and work together with social work and other professions to keep young people safe and their families supported.

The double-whammy, as we know, when educational settings shut and young people have to stay at home, is the additional pressure on families already under pressure; financial, space, food security, parents working or out of work. 

The need for practical and financial support, sign posting, professional conversations and services grows.  Needs grow but the opportunity to see and address them is diminished without our colleagues in our schools.

Away from school, young people may be at greater risk from on-line harms and have fewer adults around to support and challenge. 

Young people with complex needs and disabilities and their families have an even more significantly difficult time when schools are not open when the role for parents is intensified with no regular break in the daily routine of direct care.

From an infection point of view, how many households a day does an average teacher come into contact within a school setting?  At least 30 and quite possibly a number in the hundreds.   This surely counts as a high-risk activity however well schools are managed and however disciplined everyone is in maintaining their distance.

That is why SASW supports teachers and schools.  In her speech to the Scottish Parliament on 4 January 2021, the First Minister stated that the Government is considering “whether and to what extent - consistent with our overall duty to vaccinate the most vulnerable first in line with JCVI recommendations – we can achieve vaccination of school and childcare staff as a priority.“

SASW urges the Scottish Government to confirm that school staff are to be in the same priority for vaccination as health and social care staff – Priority 2.  We also urge Government to enable local authorities and Third Sector providers to deliver regular and frequent respite and support to families of young people with complex needs. 

Find the EIS response here: Lockdown announcement and schools impact - EIS response