A dirty-school trend has emerged in the wake of cleaning cutbacks. The teaching union is sounding a warning that serious health risks exist for pupils and staff. This follows the results of a recent survey by Union representatives. More than 80 percent of those who completed the survey stated that there was a big decline in cleaning frequency in schools. Over 600 Scottish schools participated in this survey which revealed that budget cuts have impacted the state of school cleanliness.
The survey showed that 100 EIS respondents admitted that classrooms were more than dirty. They were filthy and disgusting. Over 1000 of the respondents further admitted that they had seen parents and teachers attempt some of the classroom cleanings. Nearly all of them were worried that health and hygiene at schools were endangered as a result of the filth.
Working Over Their Contracted Hours
Cleaners have been forced to work well over their paid hours, so it is not their fault that classrooms are getting dirtier. They cannot work as much as needed in order to clean classrooms correctly. Union members reported that there have been days where schools are not cleaned at all.
Vomit has been left to sit. Toilets have been left smelling and dirty. Trash bins are overflowing. Even if the cleaners had the time to clean, they would not have the supplies. Some have been asked to clean using water only. The schools and classrooms are left in horrible states where students and staff members get exposed to unhealthy circumstances.
School Cleaning Services Have Been Cut Back on Frequency and Quality
The EIS discovered that school cleaning services were being cut on frequency as well as quality. The frequency has been reduced and, along with it, so has the cleaning quality which is non-existent on some days.
The Health Impact to Students and Staff
The EIS survey brings about a concerning view of how badly pupils and staff are being affected. Dirty environments can have serious consequences for everyone’s overall health. For the students, it can also affect how well they learn and develop.
Teachers are becoming exposed to the same environment but have double the risk of overexposure when they have to clean their own classrooms. The teachers are taking on the work of the cleaners which is unfair at best. The situation is such a problem that over 3000 EIS members surveyed begged for the poor cleaning issue to be fixed. The survey upset the general secretary, Larry Flanagan, who stated the survey details made for worrying reading.
Unhealthy schools impact both teaching and learning in an adverse way. However, the dirt, filth, and germs can do serious damage by causing diseases and infections. Students and teachers are more likely to bring home infectious diseases which can cause a perilous outcome for communities at large. Increased absences make it more difficult for children to learn as optimally as they should
The Cut Backs Create Consequences for Pupils
The consequences for students are becoming evident as diseases like norovirus take hold. Insect or rodent infestations are also becoming a problem that complicates matters. Improper cleanings are to blame. A Scottish government spokesperson has spoken out about the matter stating that local authorities must work to correct the problem.
Over a ten-year period, the number of students learning in poorly cleaned schools has gone down. In fact, a source reported that two-thirds of students are facing the problem of infrequent cleanings.