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Dumfries and Galloway teaching union warns pupil anxiety and depression "greatly increased" since coronavirus pandemic

A union representing teachers in Dumfries and Galloway has warned that levels of pupil anxiety and depression have “greatly increased” since the Covid-19 pandemic.

An Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) survey has looked into trends in “dysregulated behaviour” – which includes depression, anxiety, high levels of shame and anger, self-harm, eating disorders and extreme perfectionism – in the classroom.

The union’s local association secretary Andrew O’Halloran said: “Since the pandemic EIS members have noted issues of pupil anxiety and dysregulated behaviour have greatly increased, and this is having a big impact on teachers in terms of work-related stress.

“We are working closely with Dumfries and Galloway Council to look at this and to find local solutions.

“But this can only go so far as this is a national problem which requires input from both the Scottish and UK governments. We do not have enough educational psychologists or learning assistants.”

The local EIS survey showed 66.3 per cent of members in the region would like to see more learning assistants in schools.

While course content was delivered through online learning during the pandemic and lockdown the unions says this was no substitute for having a GTCS-qualified teacher in a classroom with pupils.

Mr O’Halloran added: “Our members would like to see larger numbers of learning assistants in classes to help deal with the some of the issues that have emerged since the end of lockdown.

“However, the return to in-person teaching is entirely positive, as face-to-face teaching is always better than online delivery, especially for socialisation and pupil welfare.”

The survey results come as the Scottish Government has announced a summit on pupil

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, China, and has since spread globally, resulting in the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Muscle pain, sputum production, diarrhea, and sore throat are less common.