Director teaches lessons due to ‘unprecedented’ staff sickness in schools

Unprecedented levels of school staff sickness saw children’s services director Helen Budge step in to teach lessons.

Mrs Budge told today’s (Monday) education and families committee that staff and pupil illness remained “higher than we might have liked to see”.

While Covid was becoming less prevalent, Mrs Budge said there were still cases affecting bairns and teachers.

And she said the lockdown seemed to have left folk more susceptible to other bugs that were going around.

Mrs Budge said the impact over the last quarter had been “quite significant” and had led to a number of council officials taking on temporary teaching roles.

Committee chairman Davie Sandison said Mrs Budge was among those stepping in to help, highlighting just how difficult the situation had become.

Mrs Budge said the SIC was looking to increase the number of supply staff available.

“Because we have seen quite unprecedented levels of sickness and illness,” she said. 

Mrs Budge said Covid had more of an impact on absences now compared with earlier inthe pandemic when schools were closed or remote learning was in effect.

She said the council would continue to monitor the level of absence.

Figure provided to the board show Covid-related absences cost the department £82,000 in the past year. 

The attendance rate for secondary pupils stood at 87.8 per cent for the latest quarter and 91.3 per cent for primary pupils. 


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