Ensuring that young people continue to receive their education during this pandemic has been a top priority for the Greens.

While Covid-19 has disrupted all of our lives in some way and, it has had a huge impact on children and young people in particular, between school closures, restrictions on social gatherings, sport etc. To deliver education properly, our schools need to be safe and their staff need to be supported.

Right now, teachers are under immense pressure. Their workloads are simply completely unmanageable and on top of the challenges of delivering learning during a pandemic, they are also responsible for things like conducting track and trace in their schools when someone tests positive.

Until recently, secondary teachers were having to prepare pupils for two scenarios – exams going ahead, and their being cancelled.

I had warned since May that they should be cancelled, as some pupils would get to May having missed months more class time than others due to repeated self-isolation, making fair exams impossible. Unfortunately, the Government dragged their heels, only agreeing to cancel all exams this month.

And vulnerable school staff are being treated worst of all. Teachers with serious health conditions like cystic fibrosis have been bullied back into classrooms by their employers, against the recommendations of their GPs and other doctors. Many councils have turned down all requests to work from home or to find some other arrangement for extremely vulnerable staff.

To make schools safe and ensure that teachers and other school staff are supported, the Greens proposed a ‘Safe Schools’ package, including the recruitment of 2,000 additional teachers, Scottish Government intervention to ensure that vulnerable teachers and staff can work from home or take paid leave, and an expansion of Covid-19 testing to ensure asymptomatic staff and senior pupils can receive regular tests if they wish.

I brought the Safe Schools package to Parliament in November, where it passed despite the SNP refusing to support it. Despite Parliament agreeing to my proposals, the Scottish Government are dragging their feet rather than delivering. This is despite their own report this month confirming that teachers are more likely to catch Covid than the general working-age population.

Unfortunately, this lack of action from the Scottish Government is no surprise. Their record on education has been shocking during the pandemic, whether it was the exams results shambles – which the Greens had to force a resolution to – or their recent refusal to have all schools close by December 18, resulting in some teachers almost certainly having to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to conduct contact tracing.

The Scottish Greens support teachers’ unions as they begin formal disputes with councils over school safety. I hope you will give them your support as well.