Named Person role aggravates £30m teaching crisis

Mon, 15 Feb 2016

The Scottish Government’s Named Person scheme has come under fire yet again, this time from a senior councillor.

Jenny Laing, the leader of Aberdeen City Council, said that a drastic shortage of head teachers in the North East of Scotland may be being fuelled by the Named Person provision.

At the end of last week it emerged that Aberdeenshire Council has spent £24.4 million on supply teachers since 2012, while Aberdeen City Council has spent £6.5 million.

Shortages

Responding to the news, Jenny Laing said the Named Person scheme could be “putting people off” becoming primary head teachers.

There are currently 39 head teacher vacancies at schools across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Under the scheme – which is due to become law in August – primary school headteachers will become Named Persons, responsible for the ‘wellbeing’ of children.

Laing said: “It means you have to take legal responsibility for every child in the school”.

There has been fierce criticism of this nanny state intervention in school and family life.The Press and Journal

‘Galling task’

Laing’s comments were echoed in a Press and Journal editorial which said the amount spent on supply is “extraordinary”.

It described the Named Person role as a “galling task” and questioned why it is “being foisted on teachers, who have enough to do as it is”.

The editorial continued: “There has been fierce criticism of this nanny state intervention in school and family life.

“Teachers are capable of raising their suspicions now, without additional formal responsibility – and there are enough child protection specialists in social services, hospitals and the police to provide this role effectively, if they do their jobs properly.”

‘Doomed’

Spokesman for the No to Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign, Simon Calvert, told the newspaper:

“With so many of the professionals who are supposed to make this scheme work so concerned, you have to ask what will it take for the Scottish Government to finally admit the scheme is doomed and scrap it once and for all.”

The full statutory form of the Named Person scheme is due to come into force in August this year. However, pilot schemes are already operating in many parts of the country.

The legal case against the scheme will be heard in the Supreme Court on 8 March.