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Scores of worried teachers write to first minister

Scotland’s first minister received about 120 letters in the month after inviting teachers to contact her with their concerns

Scores of worried teachers write to first minister

Scotland’s first minister received about 120 letters in the month after inviting teachers to contact her with their concerns

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has received 120 letters since she invited teachers to get in touch with her if they had any concerns about the profession.

A parliamentary question by Scottish Conservatives education spokeswoman Liz Smith revealed the figure today.

Ms Sturgeon had responded at First Minister's Questions on 4 October to Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who quoted from an anonymous letter apparently written by a teacher.

Ms Davidson said it showed that there was “a culture of fear and secrecy” among teachers in Scotland, and that the threat of “repercussions for their careers” discouraged them to speak out.

That prompted Ms Sturgeon to say: “Let me be clear to teachers that they can come and raise anything they want with the government.

“And let me be very clear to every single local authority, of every party administration across the country, that it is unacceptable to say to any teacher that they will be disciplined for doing so.”

Today, Ms Smith said: "The fact so many have taken up the first minister's offer shows the strength of feeling among teachers right across Scotland.

"These are professionals who have taken time out of their day to express serious concerns about the state of education."

She added: "This is supposed to be a priority area for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP government. How they respond to these scores of representations will reveal just how serious they are about education."

In the past month, a new website called Dear Madam President has been inviting letters from teachers who want to express concerns about the challenges they face in their work, with around 30 published so far.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said that education secretary and deputy first minister John Swinney "regularly meets with teachers when visiting schools and has had a number of meetings in direct response to the letters received".

She added: "A wide range of issues were discussed, including additional support needs, pupil behaviour, workload, recruitment and pay."

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