UNION leaders have demanded that schools recruit an army of teachers to help education return full time next month – pointing to a “glaring demand” for more staff to be drafted in.

Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, has written to all Scottish councils, calling on officials to recruit the extra teachers needed to support a full return to education on August 11 – urging for heads of education to “think big in articulating the scale of resource required”.

Education Secretary John Swinney will deliver a statement to MSPs in Holyrood on Thursday to outline the Scottish Government’s plans for re-opening schools.

The Scottish Government has previously indicated that local authorities will be given additional resources "if required", to help schools re-open.

In his letter, EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan has called for priority to be given to employing newly-qualified teachers and recent qualified teachers before consideration is given to former and retired teachers being drafted back into classrooms.

READ MORE: EIS union joins calls for 'complete transparency' over schools re-opening evidence

He said: “At the moment, there is intense discussion around the process of how schools will reopen in August and clearly that is a pressing matter which we all need to attend to. Beyond getting pupils back, however, lies an even bigger challenge about supporting their recovery from what will have been for many, indeed most, a traumatic experience.”

Mr Flanagan has previously warned MSPs about the widening of poverty-related disadvantage being exploited further by the Covid-19 lockdown – and the damage being done to the welfare of children.

He added: “Tackling all of these aspects will be a labour-intensive process as children will need counselling, support and nurturing. To this end we will need more teachers, more specialists, and more support services.”

READ MORE: EIS union warns over support for 'severely traumatised' pupils returning to school in August

Mr Flanagan has urged heads of education at Scottish local authorities to make the case for more resources to support education recovery. 

He said: “We have unemployed NQTs, RQTs, teachers on supply lists and temporary contracts – all of whom are anxious about their employment prospects for next session when there is such a glaring demand for all of them to be utilised in our schools.

“The GTCS has identified thousands of retired or inactive teachers waiting in the wings to be deployed but before we even begin to consider this cohort, we need to employ the staff already there.

"Teachers make the difference – let’s get as many as we can into our schools."