More cash

Par­ents’ ver­dict af­ter ex­tra cash grant is not all spent

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Edel Kneealy

Ex­tra cash awarded to a school in a de­prived area of Ruther­glen has not been fully spent, par­ents have al­leged.

St Mark’s Pri­mary School in Fern­hill was set to re­ceive ad­di­tional money through the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s At­tain­ment Chal­lenge.

Ex­tra cash awarded to a school in a de­prived area of Ruther­glen has not been fully spent, par­ents have al­leged.

St Mark’s Pri­mary School in Fern­hill was set to re­ceive ad­di­tional money through the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s At­tain­ment Chal­lenge.

It sees schools op­er­at­ing in ar­eas of high de­pri­va­tion awarded ex­tra money to close the at­tain­ment gap be­tween chil­dren in those schools and their coun­ter­parts liv­ing in more af­flu­ent ar­eas.

But par­ents of chil­dren at­tend­ing St Mark’s say not all of this cash - de­signed to help the most vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren achieve their po­ten­tial - has been spent in the 2016/17 aca­demic year.

They say the school has been un­der re­sourced and does not have enough teach­ers to de­liver the ex­tra sup­port the cash was sup­posed to fund.

A spokes­woman for St Mark’s Par­ent Coun­cil said: “St Mark’s cur­rently has a school roll of 148 chil­dren, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of which re­quire ad­di­tional sup­port on a range of aca­demic, so­cial and emo­tional needs aris­ing from de­pri­va­tion.

“It is par­tic­u­larly up­set­ting that we have been given this money on one hand and it’s ef­fec­tively be­ing taken away by the other.

“I’m an­noyed be­cause politi­cians can talk in gen­eral terms about how good they are be­ing giv­ing this money.

“But the schools that need it aren’t able to use it.”

News the school has not spent its at­tain­ment fund­ing comes in the same week South La­nark­shire Coun­cil has pro­posed cut­ting a teacher from St Mark’s. A sec­ond teacher was also let go from the school last year.

In­stead there will be six com­pos­ite classes at St Mark’s from Au­gust.

The spokes­woman added: “Peo­ple on the par­ent coun­cil point out that they are mak­ing teach­ers’ jobs more dif­fi­cult. It is more dif­fi­cult to teach a mix of year groups in one class.

“But given there is a higher pro­por­tion of chil­dren with ad­di­tional needs in the first place, the job is even more dif­fi­cult now.”

The par­ent teacher coun­cil has writ­ten to the coun­cil and elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives in a bid to get the planned teacher cut re­versed and en­sure there is enough staff to de­liver on the at­tain­ment chal­lenge next year.

Head of ed­u­ca­tion at the coun­cil, Anne Don­ald­son, said: “The Scot­tish At­tain­ment Chal­lenge schools’ pro­gramme is fi­nanced on the ba­sis of money spent, not on ini­tial plan­ning tar­gets. There­fore, no money was sent back to the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment.

“Schools are staffed on a year by year ba­sis and the staffing for­mula is based upon Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment Guide­lines. This is ap­plied across all schools and has been ap­plied to St Mark’s.

“This core for­mula takes ac­count of the to­tal num­ber of pupils and the num­ber of pupils at each stage from Pri­mary 1 to Pri­mary 7.

“There­fore, it is pos­si­ble to have a slight in­crease in roll and for the classes to be con­fig­ured dif­fer­ently from year to year, prin­ci­pally due to the num­bers of chil­dren go­ing into Pri­mary 1 and leav­ing at Pri­mary 7.

“In the case of St Mark’s this means com­pos­ite classes in six classes.

“How­ever, we have ad­hered to our pol­icy of a max­i­mum class size of 25.”

The Scot­tish At­tan­ment Chal­lenge schools’ pro­gramme is fi­nanced on the ba­sis of money spent not on ini­tial plan­ning tar­gets . . .

An­gry Fam­i­lies are protest­ing against teacher cuts 090617stmarks_1

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