Three out of ten people believe depression sufferers 'unsuited to teaching'

Social attitudes survey prompts claims about a lack of support for staff suffering mental health problems

Henry Hepburn

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Nearly a third of Scots believe occasional sufferers of depression should not work as primary teachers, according to a new survey.

The research findings triggered warnings that there was a long way to go in changing public attitudes, while one teacher affected by depression said that schools failed to offer enough support.

Some 29 per cent of the people questioned said they felt that someone who “experiences depression from time to time” is unsuited to primary teaching, according to the newly published report Scottish Social Attitudes 2015: attitudes to discrimination and positive action.

The figure actually represents a big drop on 2006 (51 per cent) and 2010 (41 per cent). Calum Irving, director of the See Me organisation, which tackles stigma around mental health, said the trend was “very welcome” but stressed that there was still “a lot of work to be done”.

The research also shows that the Scottish public is increasingly open to people from diverse backgrounds becoming teachers. Some 13 per cent considered gay men and lesbians to be unsuitable as primary teachers, for example, down from 21 per cent in 2006. Meanwhile, 20 per cent of respondents did not think people who had undergone gender reassignment should be primary teachers, down from 31 per cent in 2010.

The group that most people believed was unsuitable for primary teaching was Gypsy/Travellers, although the 34 per cent against represented a drop from 48 per cent in 2006.

Some 31 per cent believed someone aged 70 was unsuitable for primary teaching, down from 49 per cent in 2006.

This is an edited version of an article in the 7 October edition of TESS. Subscribers can view the full story hereTo subscribe, click here. This week's TESS magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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