‘Give us cash not changes’
Teachers want more investment in schools instead of overhaul
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.”