Joan McAlpine has blasted the Labour administration’s approach to the region’s learning support as an ‘omnishambles.’
Many parents are facing a summer of uncertainty after being told hours of learning support will be cut in schools across the region.
To add insult to injury the Council has created more managerial posts to deal with assisted learning support while at the same time cutting the hours of hands-on staff who help children in the classroom.
In spite of creating these new officer posts, there has been a complete failure to communicate to parents what the provision will be for next term when many children are potentially put at risk by cuts – which include cuts to playground supervision.
The South Scotland SNP MSP has been approached by a number of parents distraught about the implications of the cuts for their children’s education.
Ms McAlpine said:
“There is a clear pattern in Dumfries & Galloway Council.
“They are cutting the hours of frontline staff such as classroom assistants and instead creating another bureaucratic layer of “officers” - just like they did with the officials created to duplicate the work of Councillors.
“How can they possibly justify it?”
Similar cuts were proposed in 2014 and were condemned by Joan McAlpine MSP who alerted the children’s tsar.
At that time the Council appeared to back down with the Labour administration claiming over £500k in contingency funding to ensure children’s well-being was not damaged.
The Council appears to be backtracking again after an outcry from parents. The Council is once again dipping into the contingency fund – but any allocations won’t be agreed before the end of term.
Ms McAlpine said:
“The last minute backtrack days before the summer holidays up suggests complete confusion in the Council. It can only be described as an omnishambles.
“I exposed their plan to destroy ASL two years ago and they backtracked with a “contingency fund” – what have they been doing for the past two years?
“It’s time for Jeff Leaver and this Labour administration to get a handle on this issue and stop putting bureaucracy ahead of service.”