Teacher pens heart-breaking letter to John Swinney about her ‘nearly impossible’ job… Why is he still trying to foist Named Person on schools?

An anonymous letter to Education Secretary John Swinney from an exasperated teacher has been doing the rounds online.

The viral letter raises ‘grave concerns’ about the state of the teaching profession, the workload placed on teachers and the desire of many to leave teaching. The letter begins:

Dear Mr Swinney,

I am a primary school teacher in a Scottish local authority and I am writing to you regarding my grave concerns about the way teaching in Scotland has become a nearly impossible job to do adequately, far less to the high standard expected of us. I want to highlight to you some of the issues that I know teachers (including myself) face on a daily basis, and why so many teachers currently want to leave our profession.

It continues:

We have a teaching crisis. This is fact. In all the local authorities that I have teacher friends in, we all talk about how impossible it is to get supply cover if a teacher is off sick. Many schools have vacant posts that cannot be filled.

And concludes:

…I am not sure of the extent to which you are aware of how bad things are. When you visit schools, people are most likely to tell you what you want to hear, through fear of repercussions. If you were able canvas teachers directly perhaps through an anonymous survey, then that would show you the real struggles that teachers are having. I sincerely hope that you take the content of this letter very seriously…Thank you for taking your time to read this letter, and I sincerely hope that it will make a difference.

Kind regards,

A Scottish teacher

Teachers are having a tough time of it just now. That fact is undeniable. And this makes it all the more baffling that the Government is seeking to add more pressure to over-burdened educationalists via named persons.

Mr Swinney seems determined to plough on with his embattled scheme despite an outcry from teachers that they can’t take any more!

Worries about teachers’ workload and anxiety around Named Person liabilities were at the forefront of an Education and Skills Committee evidence session last year.


Headteacher and EIS member Lorraine McBride told MSPs that being a headteacher was already a “difficult, difficult job”, and said that adding the Named Person duties “makes everything that bit bigger”.

She told the committee that headteachers were worried about being liable if they got it wrong, admitting: “We worry ourselves sick every single day.”

Lisa Finnie of the Scottish Guidance Association, a body which helps teachers involved in the personal support of children and young people, said she felt like they were doing three jobs – teaching, work in the school and the 3am job at home.

Whatever your views on education policy, it is inexcusable that our teachers should have yet more pressure heaped on their heads.

There is a simple way to alleviate some of their burden. We’ve been calling for it from day one; scrap the Named Person scheme.