LibDems respond to council plans to cut teacher numbers 

Teachers at Vale of Leven Academy campaigning for a pay rise.

By Lucy Ashton

Responding to reports that that the Education Secretary will intervene to stop councils, such as SNP-run Glasgow, from cutting teacher numbers and reducing school hours, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP said:   “All of this comes down to the government’s woeful neglect of education and local authority budgets year after year after year.

“The Education Secretary [Shirley Anne Somerville] should have seen this coming. Councils have been so starved of funding that they are now having to consider jeopardizing children’s education- that is the terrifying knife-edge to which this government has pushed them.

First Minister Sturgeon, Education Secretary Shirley Anne Somerville and LibDems’ Willie Rennie.

“Unless this intervention comes with extra money to fund councils, forcing them to ring-fence education funding will simply mean sharp cuts elsewhere.

“This SNP/Green administration needs a firm shake. It must scrap the pointless national testing of P1s at a cost of £17 million, it must give up on its eye-wateringly expensive bid to break up the UK and it must halt the billion-pound bureaucratic takeover of health and social care which so many of the SNP’s own members can’t even support.

“All of this is money that could be given to councils to halt teacher cuts, fund greater in-class support, better pay for teachers and stable teacher contracts.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the government will act to protect teacher numbers.

She added: “This government has a commitment to increase teacher numbers and councils are being given additional funding specifically to deliver that. It would not be acceptable to me or the Scottish Government to see teacher numbers fall.

“Therefore, I can confirm that the government intends to take steps to ensure that the funding that we are providing to councils to maintain increased numbers of teachers actually delivers that outcome, and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills will set out more details to Parliament in the coming days.”

Top picture: Teachers at Christie Park PS in Alexandria make their feelings known.

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