Dundee Labour Offers Alternative Vision for Education in the City That Includes Bringing Back the Visiting Primary PE and Music Teachers

18 April 2012  

Laurie Bidwell

Despite £97,000 from the Scottish Government towards providing two hours of quality PE for all our primary and secondary school pupils, the Director of Education has announced in his report that he will be recommending to the Education Committee on Monday 23 April, that the Council should not re-employ the 6.9 PE specialists who worked in our Primary Schools.  

That team of qualified specialist visiting PE teachers, was axed by our SNP led Council as part of the Council budget for 2012/13.

Those PE teachers, who worked in all our Primary Schools in the City, took their last classes at the end of last term before the Easter break.

This is confusing news for parents carers and pupils. It's confusing news because additional money, if only £48,500 per year for two years, to be spent on PE developments in our schools is to be welcomed.

But the mark of quality set by the SNP in their own manifesto for the Holyrood Elections was the provision of two hours of quality PE with a qualified specialist.  

While the report to the Education Committee includes some projects that are to be welcomed, none will lead to the immediate replacement of the 6.9 qualified PE teachers that were withdrawn.  

For example, installing artificial grass sports pitches at ten more Primary Schools is a worthy improvement to facilities but new pitches won't make any impact on the supply of qualified PE teachers to coach the children during the school day. 

But it's not altogether surprising that the SNP led Council should be backing such a move because they went out of their way to reject Labour's alternative budget proposals on 9 February 2012 that would have secured the retention of the visiting teachers to our Primary Schools.  

Amongst our reasonable and costed proposals then was a reduction in the number of chauffeur driven civic cars from two to one.  

Dundee Labour Councillors were firmly of the view that it would be better to transfer expenditure like this to provide the specialist PE teachers in our Primary Schools and get our young pupils more fit and active. 

While the Education Committee won't be in a position to re-employ the qualified PE teachers next week, the Education Convener won't have the last word this time.   

It will be Dundee voters who can make the decision in the local government elections ten days later. 

Labour in Dundee is launching its manifesto proposals for Education in our schools and nurseries today.  

This can be read in full at http://www.dundeelabour.org.uk/2012manifesto 

We believe our proposals will enhance the education of children and young people in our nursery, primary and secondary schools. 

We are happy for voters to examine our proposals and make up their minds. What they will find is that we are proposing to halt the slide in teacher numbers in our schools and bring back the team of visiting specialist PE and Music teachers to support all of our Primary Schools. 

"Let the voters decide!"

   

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