Covid Scotland: Questions over permanent teachers hired with new cash

Major questions remain over the number of secure teaching positions that have been created with Covid recovery money, according to MSPs.

In a report, members of the Scottish Partiament’s Education, Children And Young People Committee say it is “unclear” how much of the additional resource provided by the Scottish Government has been used to make temporary posts permanent.

It comes after £240 million was released for the recruitment of extra staff. Ministers hope the funds will help ensure resilience and provide support for learning and teaching. More than 1,600 individuals have been hired. However, MSPs are concerned about key aspects of the initiative.

As well as highlighting uncertainty over permanent teacher posts, they have stressed there is insufficient clarity regarding the amount spent on staff who will help pupils with additional support needs.

MSPs are also keen to develop a better understanding of the assistance being provided to non-mainstream settings.

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Their report, which was published on Friday, states: “The committee would therefore welcome more information from the Scottish Government on the outcomes achieved as a result of the resources it provided to support children and young people during the pandemic.” It adds: “The committee notes the work on the findings of the Morgan Review. Given the impact of the pandemic on children with additional support needs, the committee considers implementation of the recommendations is required as a matter of urgency.”

The document also says more work is needed to understand how Covid has affected children and young people. It notes that, despite data and knowledge being collected at local or organisational level, a “comprehensive analysis” of the pandemic and its impact on different cohorts has not been produced.

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The report acknowledges government efforts to boost understanding of the pandemic’s effects through measures contained in the National Improvement Framework and the updated Scottish Attainment Challenge. But it states: “It is not clear how this approach will supply answers to questions such as whether the impact on learning is different when taking account of factors such as rurality, age, disability, ethnicity, gender and so on.

“These questions would appear to the committee as important to understand the challenge the education system faces and in developing the policy responses and the distribution of any additional resource.”

The report adds: “The committee therefore recommends that the Scottish Government should commission research utilising quantitative and qualitative methods, as a matter of urgency, to provide an analysis of how different cohorts have been affected by Covid.”

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