Cuts will affect teaching quality, councillors tell MSPs

Councillors in Scotland have warned MSPs that cuts to council funding will have a negative effect on teaching quality.

Speaking to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee, local government representatives warned that, while they would try to protect individual school budgets, cuts would fall on student support and services such as specialists music and art tuition.

Scotland’s 32 councils have accepted the Scottish government’s £10.3 billion funding settlement, which contains commitments to maintain teacher numbers but will see cuts to local authority budgets.

Councillor Malcolm Cunning of Glasgow City Council said: “There is no way local authorities can lose sums like £130 million over the space of two years and not have some level of impact in terms of education provision. Decisions have not been made, but what you may well find is there are fewer support staff within schools and therefore teachers are standing at a photocopier rather than in the classroom.”

Glasgow’s assistant director of education Ian Robertson said that further reform would be needed, and suggested greater collaboration between schools could be essential.

He also warned that councils may have to look into grater use of technology to prop up schools, saying: “If a school cannot get a physics teacher for love nor money, why can it not have a virtual one? We will be pushed down that route to address certain practical challenges that we face.”

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