Teachers are set to wade into the independence debate at a major conference after a motion was lodged calling on participants to acknowledge "the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine the form of government best suited to their needs".

The motion will be discussed at the EIS Annual General Meeting (AGM), which gets underway today and is being held virtually.

It is likely to put a spotlight on feeling in the teaching profession about Scotland's constitutional future.

Lodged by the union's South Lanarkshire Local Association, it states: "That this AGM acknowledges the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine the form of government best suited to their needs."

The motion is one of many scheduled for debate during the 2021 AGM. Others will look at issues such as moving to two-year qualifications in the senior phase, inspections reform and plans for an incremental reduction in class sizes.

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Elsewhere, the outgoing President of the EIS - Scotland’s largest union for teachers and lecturers - has used her final speech in post to make a plea for more support for pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

Carole Thorpe, a primary teacher from Aberdeen, has been President during one of the more unusual and challenging years in the institute’s history.

Addressing its AGM, she praised pupils and staff for their hard work and called for enhanced investment in education to boost learning recovery in the wake of Covid-19.

Ms Thorpe told the meeting: “Over this last year I have used the word unprecedented so many times that I wanted to try to find another word to use today but unprecedented is undoubtedly what this year has been.

"The Covid-19 Pandemic has had a profound impact on all spheres of life and this has been particularly acutely felt in every sector of education. The effects of the pandemic will continue to reverberate well into the future.”

The Herald: Teachers will also discuss how to secure learning recovery in the wake of disruption caused by Covid-19.Teachers will also discuss how to secure learning recovery in the wake of disruption caused by Covid-19.

She continued: “I want to praise all of the hard work and professionalism of colleagues in schools, colleges and universities across Scotland who have worked extremely hard this last year in their efforts to maintain the education of our young people, in finding practical solutions to the challenges faced and doing this despite fears for their own and their families’ health.”

Calling for enhanced support for schools, Ms Thorpe said: “Dealing with the issues left in the wake of the pandemic will require partnership going forward.

"The Government must work with teachers and lecturers because we are the ones best placed to understand our pupils and what their needs are, both educational needs and their health and wellbeing needs, including mental health.

"It is vital that sufficient funding is provided to give us the resources to do this.”

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Ms Thorpe added: “There has been, and will continue to be, a huge increase in the need for mental-health support due to the pandemic.

"During this last year so many of our young people have missed out on social contact, have experienced grief and loss, have lived with stressed parents, have been subjected to domestic abuse, hunger, and so many other issues.

"For so many of our young people, school is the stable, dependable part of their existence and they have struggled without it. Cracks in our society will be irreparable if we do not act now.

"Money must be made available to support education - pupils affected by the pandemic are the future of our country and we cannot afford to fail them.”