THE vast majority of teachers in Scotland have incicated they retain serious safety concerns over the re-opening of schools next week, it has emerged.

The interim results of a survey, opened earlier this week by Scotland’s largest teaching union EIS show that less that one in five are confident schools are currently safe.

While teachers want to see schools re-open, they remain unconvinced that sufficient measures have been put in place to ensure safety.

A total of 24,354 teachers completed the survey from its launch on Tuesday 4 August to the morning of Thursday 6 August.

And while 64% of teachers support the decision to re-open schools, only 18% express confidence that schools are currently safe – indicating that much more needs to be done to ensure safety.

A minority of teachers believe that sufficient safeguards have been put in place to support the safe re-opening of schools.

Just 3% of teachers are ‘very confident’ that there is sufficient evidence that Covid-19 is sufficiently under control to support a safe return to school.

And less than a quarter of teachers are ‘confident or very confident’ that an established capacity to test, trace and isolate is in place to support a safe return, with 58% expressing a lack of confidence.

Glasgow Times:

Commenting on the interim findings, EIS general secretaery Larry Flanagan said, “The interim results of this survey highlight that Scotland’s teachers continue to have serious questions over the re-opening of schools next week. The fact that more than 24,000 teachers completed the survey in a little over a day illustrates the high degree of concern that remains over COVID-19 and schools. Teachers want to see schools re-opening, so that they can get back to working with pupils in the classroom environment – but they are very clear that this has to be done safely.”

“The initial indications from this major survey confirm that teachers believe that much more still needs to be done to ensure their safety, and the safety of pupils and others within the school, can be properly protected as schools re-open.

"The EIS will be sharing both the initial and final results of this survey with the Scottish Government and local authorities, and will be seeking urgent discussions on the mitigations that teachers still want to see – such as sufficient social distancing, testing for asymptomatic staff, and the use of face coverings where required to ensure safety.”

The survey found that under 26% of teachers are confident that sufficient operational changes – such as effective social distancing and enhanced hygiene routines – will be in place to support a safe return to school with 60% lacking confidence.

And 62% of teachers feel either ‘somewhat unsafe’ or ‘very unsafe’ about returning to school next week.

It comes as the NASUWT teachers union in Scotland put Scottish councils and the government "on notice" over potential legal consequences as concerns continue to surface over the safety of the re-opening of schools.

In a stark letter to Scotland's education directors, the NASUWT teachers union in Scotland said it was warning employers and the Government that it was "reserving our members’ legal rights" over any issues arising from the return to full-time education.

The union says employers have found the timescale for completing their plans for next week's opening "very challenging" and said it was aware that a number were unable to complete them before the end of the summer term.

A survey by the NASUWT teacher's union in early July revealed that nearly half of teachers who responded did not feel prepared to return to their school or college in August and just 22% said they felt safe or very safe as a result of the provisions their employer was putting in place to mitigate the risks of Covid-19.