03 Jul 15

"Austerity cuts target Scotland's most vulnerable students"

“Latest cuts could ‘lead to lost generation’"

An article in today’s TES Scotland warns that: 

“Some of Scotland’s most vulnerable pupils are bearing the brunt of education cuts, with new evidence suggesting that nothing is off limits as local authorities come under huge pressure to find savings. 

“Additional support needs (ASN) budgets have been targeted in several local authorities, and clothing grants, school food educational psychologists, school nurses and speech therapists have also been hit…

“The details of budget cuts have been laid bare in evidence submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s education and culture committee 

“Easy target 

“Jennifer Barnes, Senior Professional Officer for Voice Scotland, said that cuts to pupil support and a reduction in the number of classroom assistants would undermine national drives to raise attainment and improve literacy. But her union was also receiving more enquiries about ‘adequacy of basic health and safety measures’ for ASN pupils in light of reduced numbers of support staff, she said.” 

Jennifer Barnes told TESS that: 

“The key contribution made by our classroom assistant and pupil support assistant members to national policy initiatives, such as raising attainment, should not be underestimated – for example, in supporting literacy and numeracy activities in the classroom with groups and individual pupils. 

“However, support staff numbers are not protected. In relation to the cuts, we are receiving an increasing number of member enquiries regarding adequacy of basic health and safety measures for pupils with additional support needs, in light of reduced support staff numbers within an establishment. 

“Resources are under extreme pressure in ensuring basic health and safety requirements, never mind time to support children in class with their literacy and numeracy work.”


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