Bring Back Visiting PE Teachers to our Primary Schools

 

Laurie Bidwell

2 April 2012

On Friday the Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison MSP, announced £5.8 million more cash for Councils.  

This was so that Councils might make faster progress towards meeting a target of a guaranteed weekly minimum of quality Physical Education (PE) for all primary and secondary school pupils.  

This was an SNP election manifesto commitment made over five years ago at the May 2007 Holyrood elections.  

The bitter irony of Shona Robison's announcement will not be lost on our team of visiting PE teachers. 

Along with their colleagues in the Music team, they taught their last lessons in Dundee Primary schools on Friday.  

They were axed by our SNP led council as part of their latest round of cuts in Education in Dundee.  

The visiting teachers of PE worked in every primary school in Dundee using their specialist skills and qualifications to help provide the 'quality PE' which the government wants delivered.

I know that in The Ferry our visiting PE Teacher not only contributed to the PE teaching in our three Primary Schools but also voluntarily took an after school club or activity in each of the primary schools she supported.  

For example, in Barnhill Primary School she took the Gymnastics after school club. 

Parents, carers and teachers will find it difficult to fathom why the same Scottish Government that cut the Council's block grant just a few months ago which led to a further reduction in teachers in our schools has so soon afterwards found another pot of money to spend.

This is not the way to get best value from tax payers' money.

 I have written to the Convener of Education and the Director of Education to request that the Council use these additional resources to restore the budget for the visiting teachers of PE.

I have also applied to place this on the agenda of the next meeting of the Education Committee. 

Whatever the SNP decide in the next few weeks, Labour in Dundee commits, that if it returns to leading the Council after the May elections, it will put Dundee First by returning visiting PE specialists in Dundee primary schools.

 

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