Created on: 26 Jan 2023 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023
The EIS has welcomed news that the Scottish Government intends to intervene to halt planned council cuts to teacher numbers and the length of the pupil week – but warned that the Scottish Government must increase funding for the delivery of education by Scotland’s local authorities.
Commenting, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, "While this suggested intervention by the Scottish Government is welcome, it is the persistent under-funding and under-resourcing of Scottish education that has led to this situation in the first place.
"The Scottish Government needs to fund local authorities better, including a return to ring-fenced budgets for the delivery of education. Scotland’s young people deserve the best quality education, and that requires proper funding and investment in facilities, resources and in staff. Sufficient numbers of well qualified, properly paid teachers are absolutely essential to the delivery of quality education."
Ms Bradley continued, "Any cuts to teacher numbers and the pupil week are untenable, and would have a serious detrimental impact on young people’s education.
"Cuts to teacher numbers pile additional workload onto already severely over-burdened teaching staff, while also having profoundly damaging consequences for pupils' learning. The notion that we can raise attainment and close the poverty related attainment gap by reducing the number of pupil hours per week by 10% is ludicrous.
"Scotland's pupils deserve the best educational experience, and teachers and parents will expect the Scottish Government and local authorities to work together to ensure that their commitments and obligations to young people are met."
Ms Bradley added, "Despite claims to the contrary by some politicians and commentators, public sector pay deals are not the cause of the budgetary problems facing the Scottish Government.
"Fair pay for the public sector workers who deliver vital services should be a given. It is the Scottish Government's unwillingness to use the full range of its revenue raising powers and poor planning that have led to the current predicament.
"It should also be noted that the Auditor General identified a two Billion pounds underspend in the Scottish Government budget last year, while the STUC has identified potential avenues that the Scottish Government could utilise to raise billions of additional revenue to fund public services."