WOULD-BE HEADTEACHERS PUT OFF BY ‘DRACONIAN’ NAMED PERSON LEGISLATION

A council leader and the head of a major trade union have blamed the Named Person legislation for the struggle to recruit head teachers in some areas.

The Press and Journal found that local councils have been struggling to recruit teachers and subsequently spent more than £30 million on classroom supply staff in three years. It was revealed that across Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Council there were 187 teaching vacancies, including 39 head teacher roles.

Jenny Laing, leader of Aberdeen City Council, commenting on Named Persons, said: “The legislation may be putting people off becoming head teachers at primary school, because in this role you are the state guardian for all the pupils at the school.

“It means you have to take legal responsibility for every child in the school – if anything goes wrong you are the guardian of that child and have to bring in all the relevant bodies to address the problem.

“The salary for primary school teachers is not much higher than in other roles. People don’t want added responsibility for not much more money, so the Scottish Government has to look at the national pay structure.”

Greg Dempster, General Secretary of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland, remarked: “The named person puts an obligation for a head teacher to be the core point of contact for any issue of wellbeing or other concerns within the school. They have to set in chain meetings with other agencies if any issue to do with wellbeing arises.”

A Press and Journal comment piece on the news stated: “It is a galling task and one wonders why such a specialist child protection role is being foisted on teachers, who have enough to do as it is. There has been fierce criticism of this nanny state intervention in school and family life.

“Teachers are capable of raising their suspicions now, without additional formal responsibility – and there are enough child protection specialists in social services, hospitals and the police to provide this role effectively, if they do their jobs properly.”

NO2NP spokesman Simon Calvert said he was unsurprised by the news and said that of course the “draconian” Named Person policy would deter people from applying for jobs.

He commented: “This is hardly a surprise and it is worrying that a senior local government politician and a respected trade union leader are now highlighting problems in the Aberdeen area which will doubtless be replicated throughout the country.

“With so many of the professionals who are supposed to make this scheme work so concerned, you have to ask what will it take for the Scottish Government to finally admit the scheme is doomed and scrap it once and for all.”

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