Union urged more training and resources for named person scheme to work

4 October 2017, 06:20

Education Institute Scotland

A teaching union has said more teachers and office staff are needed to deliver the Scottish Government's named person scheme.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said it does not oppose the principle of the scheme but raised concerns about a lack of training and resources.

Plans to introduce a named person for youngsters involve each child having an appointed professional such as a teacher or health visitor as a single point of contact to advise on their welfare.

EIS General Secretary said Larry Flanagan said: "Teachers are concerned about new demands likely to be made of them which will have implications for workload and potentially for conditions of service.

"Teachers are already suffering from a heavy workload burden and it is important implementation of the named person scheme does not exaggerate this burden and impact negatively on the educational experience of Scotland's children and young people."

He added: "In order for the intentions of the legislation to be delivered, significant additional resources will be required in the form of administrative and teaching staff in order to facilitate any additional engagement with parents, multi-agency liaison and information-sharing. Significant investment in high quality training will also be essential."

Mr Flanagan also urged further clarity in named person guidelines, saying the majority of the draft guidance is "difficult to understand".

His comments come as headteacher and EIS member Lorraine McBride is due to give evidence to Holyrood's Education and Skills Committee on the issue.

The committee is examining new legislation aimed at addressing concerns from the Supreme Court over information-sharing provisions in the named person scheme.

Members will also hear from other education representatives and a senior members of staff from the Information Commissioner's Office.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The Named Person functions are integrated into and clarify the role of promoted teachers who already have responsibilities for providing advice, information and support to children and parents.

"We will continue to provide full support to all those who are involved in implementing this legislation which will ensure children and young people get the right support, from the right people, at the right time."