Named Person ‘bureaucracy’ is a big issue, says leader of headteachers

General Secretary of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland, Greg Dempster, has raised concerns about what the bureaucracy of the Named Person scheme will do to a headteacher’s time.

Speaking during a meeting of the Education and Culture Committee in November, Dempster said: “We need a review of the expectations on school leaders in primary.”

“There is an issue with bureaucracy. The biggest issue that I hear mentioned as an absorber of headteacher time is the bureaucracy associated with the named person duties and GIRFEC. It would be useful to have a look at that bureaucracy.”

In July The Herald reported that teachers were concerned about the extra workload the Named Person scheme would create.

The country’s largest teachers’ union, EIS, said that it would have “serious concerns” about any related workload demands during holidays.

The union, which says it backs the scheme in principle, criticised the lack of clarity over how the scheme would work and said its members were becoming increasingly worried about the extra burden the Named Person role will place on them.

NO2NP spokesman Simon Calvert said at the time: “Teachers have a hard enough time and carry out what can sometimes be a thankless job without adding to their burdens during their well-deserved holidays.”

The Herald: Fears “that NHS staff and teachers…will become swamped with extra work.”

Concerns about how the Scottish Government’s policy of allocating a Named Person to virtually every child in Scotland will impact upon the professionals who will have to fill the role have been expressed even by those who support the scheme.

NO2NP have long been arguing that teachers, who will account for the vast majority of Named Persons, are being asked to take on a significant new responsibility without any obvious extra resource being provided.

Now, according to a report in The Herald on 7 February, both the Royal College of Nursing Scotland and the Association of Headteachers and Deputies in Scotland, are voicing similar worries.

The article states:

“Plans to appoint state-appointed ‘named persons’ to look out for the welfare of every child in Scotland are continuing despite fresh concerns that NHS staff and teachers appointed to the roles will become swamped with extra work.

“There is no limit on the number of children a single person can have responsibility for, meaning a headteacher could potentially become named person to several hundred pupils.

“Theresa Fyffe, Director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, said the scheme, which is already being rolled out in areas including Highland, Edinburgh, Fife, Angus and South Ayrshire, would enhance existing public services. However, she warned that if the approach was to be successful, it must be fully resourced. Both the NHS and local authorities, who would largely be responsible for implementing the policy, are facing significant pressure to their budgets. Ms Fyffe said:

‘We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to recruiting more health visitors, but with the named person responsibility coming on top of recent changes to the workload of health visitors, many of our health visitor members have deep concerns that even with the planned boost in numbers there just won’t be enough hours in the day to fulfil this important role.’

“The position was echoed by Greg Dempster, General Secretary of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland, who said that while he was supportive of the named person policy, questions remained over the increased burden it would create for school leaders. He added:

‘The Government and local authorities are trying to bring that bureaucratic burden down, but we are very concerned about the workload that this might generate. It’s something that needs to be worked through in good time, before full commencement.’”