COUNCILS have been blamed for failing to address the crisis in supply teaching in Scottish schools which, it has been claimed, has left pupils sitting in canteens or assembly halls rather than being taught.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), used his address at the annual meeting to attack Cosla, the umbrella body for local authorities.

Supply teachers are paid at a lower rate for their first five days of working before they move to a higher rate, making the job less attractive.

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"This is a difficult area because Cosla, short-sightedly, has been largely resistant to revisiting this area," said Mr Flanagan. "It is clear the current crisis in supply, and short-term supply in particular, is not simply a wages and conditions issue – it is having a direct impact on pupils' learning and on the professional learning agenda.

"Parents in particular should be concerned when pupils are having extended assemblies to cover for absent teachers or are being displaced to canteen areas because supply isn't available, or being taught for extended periods by non-subject specialists – and these things are happening."

Cosla said ongoing talks remained confidential.