The Next Round of Education Cuts in Dundee

14 January 2012

The announcement of the Council's planned cuts of £0.7 million in Education in 2012/13 is to be regretted.

This needs to be seen against the backdrop of 99 fewer teachers in our schools as a result of the £4.7 million cut to the budget in the 2011/12 financial year.

To add to the woes of our schools, most of next year's cuts will also fall directly on our schools.

The removal of visiting Music and PE teachers from our primary schools will effectively narrow the curriculum for many children.

Expecting every primary class teacher to take their own class for PE is a backward step.

At a time when we are conscious of trying to encourage all young people to adopt a more physically active lifestyle, I have serious doubts as to whether our primary schools will be able to fulfil the government's standard of two hours of quality PE for each child each week.

The reduction in the number if visiting instrumental teachers will further cheese pare at our once outstanding schools' music service in our city.

Starting music tuition a year later is a backward step because music makers need to start young.

Reducing the instrumental tuition by a year risks lowering the number of our young people who may engage in the Dundee Schools' orchestras and bands and reduce those that might enter for SQA examinations in music.

At the Policy and Resources Committee on Monday 9 January, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Ken Guild, informed us that he had written to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney MSP, to let his know that he had accepted the financial deal on offer from the government.

Part of that deal includes a commitment by the Council to maintain teacher number in Dundee.

When our SNP led Council cuts Music and PE teachers, there is a risk that the council will incur a financial penalty which will lead to even more cuts in our schools.

On top of these additional cuts, the effect of reducing the pay of short term supply teachers is making it difficult to recruit them.

Between August 2011 and January 2012 nearly a quarter of the requests for supply cover from our Secondary Schools were unable to be met.

This represents another stealth cut that will affect the quality of teaching and learning in our schools.

Dundee children and young people deserve better!

Comments by Hugh Henry, Scottish Labour's spokesperson on Education >>>

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