CONCERNS have been raised about the health of teachers after dozens of complaints about bed bugs and cockroaches in South Side schools.

Since 2015 council schools have been forced to deal with 10 separate instances of cockroaches living in school buildings, with a further seven examples of bed bug complaints.

While the statistics, which were received as a result of a freedom of information request, covered the entire city of Glasgow, only schools in the south of the city were affected by these two issues.

In fact, one school, St Bride’s Primary School in Strathbungo, accounts for around half of the complaints.

ANALYSIS: Pests are a poverty problem, not a school problem

In 2018 alone, pest control teams were called to the school on five separate occasions to deal with a breakout of bedbugs in the school, with teachers also experiencing problems with cockroaches three times since 2015.

One member of staff at the school has now spoken out, claiming that workers with children of their own are increasingly worried by the problems.

The employee, who asked not to be named, said: “The building is riddled, you can see it everywhere.

“The building has been fumigated but it is the fact that they have returned that worries us, that was supposed to be the end of it.

“It scares the death out of me, I don’t want to bring them home.

“A lot of the staff are young and with kids and bedbugs aren’t very nice.

“Things are getting worse with the bugs and none of us want to be there at the moment.

“You should be able to go to work without worrying about this. In this day and age it is almost unbelievable.”

ANALYSIS: Pests are a poverty problem, not a school problem

With these concerns raised by staff, trade union representatives have now spoken out about the conditions teachers are forced to work in.

Teachers’ union Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) have called for more to be done to tackle the problem in the South Side.

Susan Quinn, EIS Glasgow secretary, said: “Clearly, the health and welfare of pupils and staff must be paramount in schools at all times.

“In the rare instances where there is a risk of this type of infestation, school management must take an appropriate and proportionate response to mitigate that risk.

“It is also essential that the matter is dealt with sensitively, with appropriate understanding and support for any pupils who may have been affected.”

As well as St Bride’s, Pollokshields Primary and Annette Street also had issues with bedbugs in the past three years.

Alongside those three schools, Cuthbertson had three reports of cockroaches internally in the same time frame.

ANALYSIS: Pests are a poverty problem, not a school problem

Festival Park and Our Lady of Peace primaries with Hollybrook additional needs school were the only others to face infestations such as these.

Local councillor and education spokeswoman Soryia Siddique said: “It is important that there are robust process to eradicate pest control issues that may occur in any education establishment thus ensuring that learning and teaching is not impacted.

“A thorough preventative and treatment strategy should ensure improved work and learning environments.”

At St Bride’s school staff have been aware of the problem of bed bugs since early in 2018, with the issue raised in letters to parents on multiple occasions offering support.

Liaison meetings with parents, held by school and council staff, have also addressed the issues more than once since 2015, with help being offered and parents being directed to external services for support.

Glasgow City Council have also aided the school in helping to get rid of the critters with visits from environmental health officers to deal with the problem, as well as addressing parents directly.

The council have now said they are taking a pro-active approach to root out the problem across the city’s South Side.

ANALYSIS: Pests are a poverty problem, not a school problem

A council spokeswoman said: “Our schools play an active and important role in many different issues affecting their local community – offering support and advice to their families far beyond learning and teaching.

“This includes hosting information sessions – inviting along other professionals, as appropriate - to help educate families with problems affecting their homes that can sometimes have an impact on schools.

“Council Services have been working extensively in Govanhill to deal with pest control issues, both responding to calls from the public and undertaking pro-active block-by-block treatment programmes.

“To get fully on top of this issue we ask for further cooperation from landlords and residents to ensure treatments are as effective as possible.”