A number of local authorities and schools across Scotland are failing in their duty of care to their teaching staff over risk assessments, Scotland’s largest teaching union has warned.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has written to all education directors to highlight that individual risk assessments must be updated to take account of the rapidly evolving circumstances related to Covid-19.

According to the EIS teaching union individual risk assessments must be updated to take account of “the rapidly evolving circumstances” related to Covid-19, but the union claims that while this has happened “in most areas” some councils and schools are refusing to do so.

The union also hit out at councils for forcing vulnerable school staff to declare themselves unfit for work, rather than allowing them to work remotely.

And they have warned that where local authorities have failed in their duty of care, they will move to initiate collective greivances against them.

A recent survey of teachers across Scotland, carried out by the EIS, indicated that 16% of teachers are in Covid-19 ‘at-risk’ categories, 4% of teachers were in a shielding category prior to August 1 and 1% of teachers identify as Black and Minority Ethnic (BME).

EIS says these are the groups of teachers for whom updated individual risk assessments "are an issue of particular concern", given the higher risk that Covid-19 poses to people within these categories.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said, “Local authorities have a clear duty of care to the teachers than they employ. It is simply unacceptable, and a breach of that duty of care, for local authorities to fail to keep individual risk assessments for teachers up-to-date to account for the changing risk factors associated with COVID-19.”

Mr Flanagan added, “A failure to review risk assessments in light of significant change would mean that risk assessments would not be suitable or sufficient in terms of Health & Safety at work regulations and, additionally, would also be at odds with current advice from Public Health Scotland.

"Given the rising level of infection across the community, it is essential that local authorities update their individual risk assessments to ensure that the staff in our schools remain safe in their places of work.”