McAlpine urges Dumfries and Galloway to stop cutting teachers - or risk losing £1.5million

Joan McAlpine MSP has urged Dumfries & Galloway Labour Council to think again about cutting teacher numbers after it emerged that this will result in them losing £1.5 million of government grant.

Ms McAlpine said : "Last week D&G Labour were asked to postpone their cuts to learning support teachers until it was clear how this might affect their Scottish Government grant. Arrogantly they pressed ahead with Tory support and now the region stands to lose £1.5m now and £300,000 later this year."

It emerged yesterday that councils which failed to maintain their existing head count and teacher pupil ratio would have their share of the £41m of Scottish Government money allocated for this purpose clawed back. They would also lose their share of an additional £10 million announced last week by John Swinney to maintain teacher numbers.

Dumfries and Galloway Labour Council claimed Mr Swinney's announcement would not apply to them. But it emerged yesterday that it would and they stand to lose £1.5 million this year if they cut teachers. 

Ms McAlpine said:

"They have till 20 February to see sense and put this right. They have been claiming that their teacher pupil ratio means that they can cut teachers without being penalised but that is completely wrong.  The EIS union has pointed out that Dumfries and Galloway's ratio is slightly improved on paper by the performance of smaller schools. Larger schools in urban areas fare much worse for teacher pupil ratios.

"The Scottish Government has trusted councils to use the £41million it has been given by Mr Swinney to maintain teacher numbers for that purpose. Many have failed to do so. They cannot expect to cut teachers and keep collecting the money given by the Scottish Government to stop teacher cuts! Labour councils across Scotland are responsible for the biggest cuts - what they've got against teachers is anyone's guess."

"The ASL cuts approved by Dumfries and Galloway Labour with Tory backing last week means the loss of 52 jobs, many of them teachers. Now it is clear that they will pay a heavy price for this crazy decision. Hopefully it will make them change their mind and the education of many vulnerable pupils will be protected."

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