THE fact teachers report high levels of stress is not new, and neither is it a revelation that many teachers would not recommend others pursue the same career path. But a marked increase in the proportion of staff in our schools who report these negative views and experiences is surely worrying.

The Educational Institute of Scotland has revealed more detail of its survey of teacher stress. Nearly nine out of ten respondents said their stress had not improved over the past year. Two thirds claim to work five hours or more a week over and above their contracted hours. And nearly four out of five teachers say provision for children with disabilities and other pupils with additional support needs (ASN) in their school is inadequate. Meanwhile the 70 per cent who would not recommend teaching as a career is a sharp rise on the figure cited last year of 58 per cent, which was itself an increase on the year before.

We know there is a problem with the policy of placing pupils with ASN in mainstream classes - not the policy itself but serious questions about the way it is resourced. The Scottish Government has looked at the way the policy is implemented but there is a need for a much more thorough review of how it is funded.

The EIS survey is part of the teachers’ union’s Value Education, Value Teachers campaign for a pay rise. Th pay issue will come to a head today when councils will meet to decide whether they will endorse an improved offer put forward by the government.

But the fact this survey is part of a lobbying effort by the EIS does not undermine the seriousness of the findings. Education secretary John Swinney says action has been taken to reduce teachers’ workload and the pay offer is generous. But teachers may take some convincing. As this paper reported recently, more than 1000 teachers under 40 left the profession over the last two years.

Education is an issue on which the Scottish Government has said it should be judged These are worrying signs for ministers.