Teachers’ union: Named Person role must be probed

Scotland’s largest teaching union has backed a motion calling for the “workload, contractual and legal implications” of the Named Person scheme to be investigated.

At the Educational Institute of Scotland’s (EIS) annual general meeting, delegates asked its council to investigate and report on how the role of named person – which will fall to many teachers – affects their present workloads.

The move came after news that a handful of officials at one local authority had to cover for 80 named persons during school holidays.

Under fire

The Named Person scheme, which appoints a state guardian to every child in Scotland to monitor their ‘wellbeing’, has come under heavy fire in recent weeks.

It is due to come into full legal force in August but pilot versions of the scheme have been operating in various areas of Scotland for several years.

During the annual general meeting, senior members of EIS stood up and raised concerns about the plans.

‘Nonsensical’

EIS council member John Swinburne said the scheme would lead to “vast, expensive bureaucracy to no effect”.

“It will divert resources from vulnerable children who really need them and it has been got through because people don’t understand the implications of this.

“It is a misguided, stupid, nonsensical piece of legislation, and who will pick up the tab for it? It’s high time that we’re really, really clear about that.”

‘Excessive workload’

David Baxter, another council member, said there is a “big black hole” surrounding the provision of the Named Person scheme, and warned of a “huge potential for this to become yet another driver of excessive workload” for teachers.

He pointed to the fact that teachers will not be able to fulfill the role of named person during school holidays and out of hours.

“Any local authority that claims this is merely a continuation of good practice”, he added, “is at risk of burying their head in the sand and ignoring the potential risk”.

Ignored

The No to Named Persons campaign – which is leading opposition to the scheme – noted that Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney would be visiting the EIS annual meeting on Friday.

A spokesman said: “Given his angry denunciation of those who disagree with his Named Person policy, this is going to make Mr Swinney’s visit to the EIS conference very interesting.

“He’s tried assiduously to ignore the concerns of the professionals whom he is burdening with the job of Named Person. That is coming back to haunt him now.”

Local authorities

Last week it emerged that at Moray Council eight workers had to cover for 80 named persons during school holidays.

Employees at the council, which has been operating a pilot version of the scheme, faced up to 25 referrals a day from the police over problem children.

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