Glasgow faces backlash over plan to cut 172 teaching posts

Glasgow City Council is facing criticism from teachers, parents, and unions over its proposal to slash 172 teaching posts across its primary and secondary schools. The council says the move is part of an education service reform that aims to save £27.8 million over three years, as it grapples with a £107 million budget deficit.

Education service reform or budget cuts?

The council claims that the education service reform is not just about cutting costs, but also about improving outcomes for pupils, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. It says it will invest in digital learning, curriculum development, and staff training, as well as review the management structure and staffing formulas in schools.

However, critics say the plan is a thinly veiled attempt to reduce the quality and quantity of education in Scotland’s largest city, which has some of the highest levels of poverty and deprivation in the country. They argue that cutting teacher numbers will increase class sizes, workload, and stress, and undermine the efforts to close the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils.

Teachers’ union condemns the plan

The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) has strongly condemned the plan, saying it will hit the poorest pupils hardest and widen the attainment gap. James How, the SSTA district secretary for Glasgow, said:

Education service

“School rolls in the secondary sector are still rising as we speak. Reduced staffing will increase workloads and will be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of staff. It will probably lead to increased sick leave and have a direct impact on attainment, leaving pupils in Glasgow with a widening attainment gap to overcome.

Pupils deserve to have the best educational opportunities we can provide. This budget does nothing to improve their educational outcomes.”

The SSTA also expressed concern over the council’s intention to reduce the number of principal teacher posts, which it says will affect the leadership and support in schools.

Parents’ group calls for consultation

The Glasgow Parent Council Forum, which represents parents and carers of children in the city’s schools, has called for a meaningful consultation with the council over the plan. It says it is worried about the impact of the cuts on the quality of education and the wellbeing of pupils and staff.

The forum’s chairperson, Joanna Murphy, said:

We are very concerned about the proposed cuts to teaching posts in Glasgow. We understand the council is facing a difficult financial situation, but we do not think that cutting frontline staff is the right way to deal with it.

We want to see a proper consultation with parents, staff, and pupils, and a clear explanation of how the council intends to deliver the same or better outcomes for our children with fewer resources. We also want to see evidence that the council has explored all other options before resorting to cutting staff.”

Council defends the plan

The council has defended the plan, saying it is necessary to balance the budget and deliver a sustainable and high-quality education service. A council spokesperson said:

We are committed to providing the best possible education for our children and young people, and we have made significant progress in recent years in raising attainment and achievement, especially for those from the most deprived backgrounds.

However, we are facing unprecedented financial challenges, and we have to make some difficult decisions to ensure we can continue to provide a high-quality service within our available resources. We have developed a comprehensive education service reform programme, which is not just about saving money, but also about improving outcomes for our learners.

We are consulting with our staff, trade unions, and other stakeholders on the details of the programme, and we will take their views into account before making any final decisions.”

The council says it hopes to achieve the staff reductions through natural turnover, voluntary severance, and redeployment, and avoid compulsory redundancies.

Funding dispute between councils and government

The plan comes amid a funding dispute between the Scottish government and the local authorities, which have declared a “dispute” over the level of funding they receive from the government. The councils say they need more funding, not more restrictions on their budgets, and that the government’s policies, such as freezing the council tax and protecting teacher numbers, are forcing them to make cuts elsewhere.

The government, on the other hand, says it has increased the funding for councils and that shared goals, such as closing the attainment gap, cannot be achieved without maintaining teacher numbers. The finance secretary, Shona Robison, has offered an extra £62.7 million to the councils, but it is unclear if this will resolve the deadlock.

By Dayna Bass

Dayna Bass is a talented news writer at our website, delivering compelling and timely stories to our readers. With a passion for journalism and a keen eye for detail, Dayna covers a wide range of topics, ensuring that our audience stays informed about the latest news and developments. Whether it's breaking news, investigative reports, or human interest stories, Dayna's articles are meticulously researched and written with clarity and accuracy.

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