Created on: 19 Dec 2023
Commenting following today’s Scottish budget announcement by Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Shona Robison in the Scottish Parliament, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said:
"It is important that the Scottish Government has reflected the necessity of funding public services, and has reaffirmed the commitment to help tackle the poverty-related attainment gap.
"Allocating funding for the cancellation of school meals debt is a very positive step, although it is disappointing that there is no mention of further extending free meal entitlement to older pupils at a time when food costs remain high and hundreds of thousands of children in Scotland are not able to eat often enough or healthily enough."
"The funding to employ more teachers on permanent contracts is welcome, but this must actually lead to there being additional, permanently employed teachers in our schools.
"Teacher numbers have fallen across Scotland in each of the last two years, and the numbers of teachers on temporary contracts remain high, despite a Scottish Government pledge to recruit 3,500 additional teachers across the country by 2026 and to reduce teacher class contact time by so doing.
"We desperately need more teachers in our schools to support the best possible learning experience for all young people, including the huge number who have additional support needs."
"Local authorities will have legitimate concerns about their level of funding overall, and education, as the largest service delivered via local authorities, will be impacted by the decision to freeze council tax again this year.
"With schools requiring additional resources, including staff, to meet their commitments to young people, and with a new pay settlement for teachers due to be implemented from August this year, the Scottish Government must work with local authorities to ensure that all commitments to education, pupils and teachers can be met and timeously."