‘Give us cash not changes’

Teach­ers want more in­vest­ment in schools in­stead of over­haul

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

The great­est bar­rier to im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang schools is fund­ing, not the sys­tem of ed­u­ca­tion, lo­cal union chiefs have said.

The Ed­u­ca­tion In­sti­tute of Scot­land (EIS), which rep­re­sents teach­ers in South La­nark­shire, said schools need more money, as op­posed to an over­haul of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

The union spoke out last week as the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s schools’ gov­er­nance re­view came to an end.

It sought peo­ple’s views on a series of gov­ern­ment pro­pos­als which aim to de­volve more pow­ers to head teach­ers and schools, en­sur­ing they are able to make key de­ci­sions on ed­u­ca­tion and fund­ing.

But EIS Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Larry Flana­gan said ed­u­ca­tion should re­main within the con­trol of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

He said: “Re­cent ten­sions be­tween na­tional and lo­cal gov­ern­ment have led some to ques­tion whether the cur­rent model of de­liv­ery through lo­cal au­thor­i­ties is the best means of de­liv­er­ing ed­u­ca­tion at a lo­cal level.

“The EIS does not be­lieve that it would be use­ful at this point to look at any sig­nif­i­cant re­struc­tur­ing of the ba­sic re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two arms of gov­ern­ment; in fact, we would go fur­ther and state that it would be a sig­nif­i­cant dis­trac­tion from the real needs of Scot­tish ed­u­ca­tion to en­gage in such a process.”

Stat­ing EIS would work with the gov­ern­ment and all part­ners to re­duce the at­tain­ment gap and em­power head teach­ers, Mr Flana­gan warned against any changes that would lead to in­creased bu­reau­cracy and un­re­al­is­tic work­loads for staff.

He added: “The great­est bar­rier to ed­u­ca­tional equal­ity is and has been the im­po­si­tion of aus­ter­ity driven bud­gets and the un­der­fund­ing of the Scot­tish ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem over the past period. It is clear that in sig­nif­i­cant ar­eas, such as pupil sup­port, pre­vi­ous lev­els of pro­vi­sion have sim­ply dis­ap­peared and this in­evitably cre­ates bar­ri­ers for chil­dren’s learn­ing.”

Mr Flana­gan said re­duc­ing class sizes and in­creased re­sources were fun­da­men­tal to achiev­ing the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s aim of clos­ing the at­tain­ment gap be­tween chil­dren from poorer back­grounds and their more af­flu­ent peers.

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil is also op­posed to any mass changes within ed­u­ca­tion.

In a pa­per, ap­proved by all par­ties at the most re­cent meet­ing of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, it stated: “There is no sub­stan­tive ev­i­dence to sup­port the view that there are sig­nif­i­cant is­sues with the gov­er­nance of ed­u­ca­tion.”

Coun­cil­lor Robert Brown, former de­pute min­is­ter for ed­u­ca­tion and young peo­ple, added: “Head teach­ers all tell me they want time to teach, not to be­come prop­erty man­agers. The de­tails of what the SNP gov­ern­ment are propos­ing are very sketchy but it looks like an­other bid by them to cen­tralise yet more de­ci­sions in Ed­in­burgh.

“A fid­dly struc­tural re­form is the last thing ed­u­ca­tion wants, par­tic­u­larly after the much-crit­i­cised ex­pe­ri­ence of cen­tral­is­ing the po­lice.”

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