Named Person Policy

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 8 September 2016.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

In the last few words of Mr Johnson’s question, he talked about teachers having the opportunity to care for and educate our children. That is exactly what I want our teachers to be able to do, which is why I am investing so much of my time in ensuring that they are liberated from bureaucracy so that they can do that.

When I go round Scotland’s schools and talk to teachers, their conversations with me are not just about educational attainment. They are also about their judgment about children when they walk through the door in the morning and the support and nurture that they need before they can even think about any learning. In some schools that I have gone into, I have been overwhelmed by the empathy and, frankly, the love of teachers for children, with their first port of call being to put the toaster on as opposed to getting a book out.

We should not compartmentalise this as if, somehow, the named person is an added burden for teachers. Teachers look at the children for whom they are responsible every minute of the day trying to establish what support they require, what difficulties they are facing and how they can be assisted in fulfilling their potential, and we should congratulate our teaching profession on doing exactly that.

I do not want us to have a debate that suggests that being a named person does not come naturally to the role of the teaching profession in assessing the wellbeing of the young people in their care and taking every step that they can to enhance that as a consequence of their productive intervention.