Fife Teacher numbers – A storm in a Tea Cup

The story starts over the weekend, with a tweet from the SNP as shown in our image below. The SNP say that the Fife Labour Council administration is cutting teaching numbers in Fife.  Fife Labour take a different view.

Image of Councilor Lesley Laird’s article on Facebook

We must say there always two sides to any story and here is Fife Labour’s reply viaLabour Councillor Lesley Laird.  The SNP article follows.

“Folks – with regards education story doing the rounds here are the facts. This change will mean that more Fife children will be taught by a permanent teacher rather than temporary or supply. We are having to do this because of the chronic shortage of teachers in Scotland – Circa 4000 less since 2007. Read what Council Leader David Ross issued yesterday based on clarifying the position with Fife’s Head of Education.

There Will Be No Cut in Teacher Numbers in Fife

Fife Council Leader David Ross has completely rejected claims by the SNP that Labour plans to cut teacher numbers in Fife. He said, “The SNP have got it wrong. There is no cut in teachers.

“What we are proposing is that we move teachers around to better meet the needs of our children. It is improving frontline education not reducing it.

“We currently have over 100 vacant frontline teaching posts in primary and secondary education. These are being covered by supply teachers, by heads and depute heads and by other temporary arrangements, such as combining classes. This means these children do not have the benefit of a consistent, permanent class teacher.

“Why are there these vacancies? Because there is a teacher shortage across Scotland. The SNP Government has failed to fund teacher training properly for the past few years, so there aren’t enough teachers to go round.

“I want to be absolutely clear:

· These proposals will allow us to fill 100 vacant teaching posts on a permanent basis, directly benefiting children across Fife
· There will be an increase in the size of some classes but none will be above the statutory minimum
· There will be no reduction in the overall number of teachers
· The Pupil Teacher Ratio will not be affected

“The SNP in Fife are choosing to twist the facts in an attempt to have a go at the Labour Administration, rather than admit that this move will be of great benefit to children who at present don’t have a permanent teacher.”

The story from the SNP

Image of the SNP Facebook page

‘Reverse teacher cuts now!

Cllr Neale Hanvey, the SNPs new leader in Fife, has called for the immediate halt to cuts of teaching posts in Labour’s budget proposals.

Fife Council’s Labour administration has proposed a £3m cut from Education budgets in a bid to redistribute teaching staff to reduce current vacancies. According to Cllr Hanvey this will see 70 front line teaching staff posts removed.

Councillor Hanvey said:

“This outrage did not feature in officers’ proposals to elected members this year so it is completely down to Labour wanting to hit education and undermine the Scottish Government’s efforts to improve the life chances of our youngsters.

“The hypocrisy of Labour never ceases to astound me. In Holyrood they complain about investment, while Fife is set to receive close to £10m this year in Pupil Equity Funds. That is real money going straight to the front line, where it’s needed. Meanwhile in Fife, Labour undermine our head teachers by ripping 70 front line teaching posts out of the budget. Once these posts are gone, it is highly unlikely they will ever be reinstated

“I’m sure most folk will think that using Fife’s most vulnerable children, to attack the Scottish Government in this way, is pretty despicable stuff. I therefore call on Fife Labour to abandon their educational austerity proposal and put their trust in our front line staff.”

The SNP Spokesperson for Education, Cllr Fay Sinclair said:

“This Labour administration has already closed schools across Fife, now they want to cut teachers too. It is an appalling way to treat our young people and our hard-working teachers.

“While the Scottish Government is investing in education, Labour wants to cut school budgets by £3 million and reduce teaching posts in Primary schools and high school Maths and English departments.

“Last year we opposed Labour’s removal of healthy lunch choices from primary school menus and managed to see that cut reversed. I urge them to think again on teacher numbers too.

“Our children deserve better and I know parents across Fife will join me in calling for Labour to scrap these plans.”