Special Needs teachers are filling the gap at Moray’s Primary Schools

Laurence Findlay – head of Moray’s schools.

SPECIALIST ADDITIONAL SUPPORT NEEDS teachers in Moray primary schools have spent in excess of 1.5 school years covering for mainstream staff shortages.

While no cover at secondary school level has been provided by the specialist teaching staff, a report to Moray Council’s Children and Young Peoples Services Committee this week will learn that it has been a very different picture at the lower level.

Laurence Findlay, the Corporate Director (Education and Social Care) at the local authority, was asked at a previous meeting to provide details on the number of days ASN cover was used to cover mainstream classes in Moray’s schools.

On Wednesday Councillors will consider his report, which points to 322 days of ASN teacher time being used in primary schools since January – equating to in excess of 1.5 school years. The report also highlights that recruitment of new ASN teachers has proven to be even more difficult that mainstream, with seven ASN vacancies among the 42 currently vacant posts in Moray.

Mr Findlay says: “ASN teachers are highly skilled and trained practitioners, equipped to provide education to young people with a wide variety of complex needs. Young people in receipt of ASN teaching are entitled to this in line with the legislation which enshrines ASN.

“There are risks that removing this teacher input may have a detrimental impact on their educational progress.

“Head Teachers have been placed in a very difficult position over the past few years in their efforts to keep schools open and provide a continuity of service in the face of unprecedented shortages. This has resulted in Head Teachers having to redeploy ASN teachers to cover mainstream classes.

“Had they not done this, then individual classes would have been sent home as there would have been no teacher available in front of the class.”