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Omicron wave led to 5 per cent of teachers being absent, education official warns

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THE Omicron wave led to 5% of teachers being absent at one point, MSPs have been told, with an education official saying this caused a knock-on effect on the quality of education.

Holyrood’s Education Committee heard that staff absences had a detrimental impact on what teachers could offer.

Douglas Hutchison, president of the Association of Directors of Education (ADES), said the issue had affected both teachers and wider education staff.

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Hutchison, who is also executive director of education at Glasgow City Council, said absences had been discussed at an ADES meeting recently.

He said: “There has been an increase.

“The general view was that schools were coping, but that was down to the good efforts of staff on the ground.”

READ MORE: Ventilation measures in schools to reduce Covid spread are ‘adequate’

He said the absences detracted from what teachers could offer, saying: “The quality of learning and teaching is impacted, regardless of the total number of staff absent, because it has a knock-on effect across the school.”

Hutchison said he believed around 5% of staff were absent at one point purely for coronavirus reasons.

He continued: “The whole system is then under pressure, every teacher is under pressure, because there’s additional work to keep the whole thing going.

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“And to their huge credit, they have done it.”

Margaret Wilson, chair of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, also spoke to the committee.

She said parents of children in all age groups had expressed concern, saying: “There’s been a huge number of young people that have had learning and teaching disrupted.”

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