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Created: 16 December 2016 | Last Updated: 16 December 2016 | Printer Friendly Version Printer Friendly Version | Make Text Smaller Make Text Larger |

Additional Budget Investment in Education is a Step in the Right Direction

15 December 2016

The EIS has welcomed the Scottish Government’s stated intent to invest more in Scottish education in the year ahead.

The draft budget statement, delivered by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, included detail on increased investment of £120M to support work towards tackling the attainment gap and £88M to maintain pupil/teacher ratios - thereby maintaining or increasing the number of teachers working in Scotland’s schools.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The EIS fully supports the drive to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap that persists in schools across Scotland, and welcomes the announcement of additional investment to support schools in this area.

"Poverty continues to have a detrimental impact on the educational and life chances of far too many young people in Scotland and, while the funding announced today will not solve this issue, it is an important signal of intent and of a continuing commitment to tackle this major societal problem.”

On the funding to maintain pupil/teacher ratios, Mr Flanagan said, "The announcement of £88M to maintain pupil/teacher ratios is a welcome commitment to maintaining or increasing the number of teachers across Scotland as pupil numbers continue to rise.

"This will improve the employment prospects for newly qualified teachers and help to ensure consistency in the level of provision in schools across Scotland.

"While there are still a number of issues to be tackled – including the challenge of recruiting qualified teachers in some areas, the shortage of supply teachers across Scotland, and the stark erosion of teachers’ salaries over the past decade – this continuing support for guaranteeing the number of teachers working with pupils is a positive development.”

Mr Flanagan added, "Overall, it is clear that these remain very challenging times for public finances and for public services. The Finance Minister has chosen not to raise income tax at this time, so this will inevitably have an impact on the financial pressures facing public services across the country.

"A wide range of public services, including education, are necessary to tackle the impact of poverty in a concerted fashion and those services must be properly financed and resourced to be effective.”