Dozens more teaching and support staff are to be hired in the Highlands to help schools through the pandemic through a £2.2 million Scottish Government investment
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AN additional 52 teachers and support staff are to be appointed to Highland schools to support the return to education following lockdown.
The new posts – 41 teachers and 11 support staff – will be rolled out over two years, paid for from a
£2.2 million grant to Highland Council from the Scottish Government.
Six teachers will be taken on to support online learning for pupils who have to self-isolate.
Interim executive chief officer for education, Nicky Grant, said: “Additional capacity and resource in the teaching workforce has been required, in particular when significant numbers of pupils or staff are required to self-isolate. Additional capacity in the teaching workforce will be required if we need to switch to a blended model of learning at any stage.”
“It is anticipated that these additional teachers or support staff will provide a range of additional support to help with recovery work, such as supporting young people who may have suffered a loss of learning during lockdown, supporting young people who are shielding, affected by mental health issues as a result of Covid, supporting small groups of learners who need more intense support and covering classes for teachers who are self-isolating.
“They will also be vital in responding to any local flare-ups of the virus, which could necessitate implementation of contingency plans for blended learning for a period.”
After Covid-19 outbreaks in several local schools including Kinmylies and Dalneigh primaries in Inverness, Highland Council has also sought to reassure parents it is capable of delivering education to pupils asked to self-isolate, using Google tools.
Ms Grant said: “We understand being asked to self-isolate can cause anxiety in our young people and their family’s routine especially having returned to full-time education from August 14.
“Digital learning is not about streaming a one-way lecture, it is about using tools and platforms to provide pupils with the opportunity to interact, engage and experience as they would physically if in the classroom.”