Education Cuts in Dundee Revealed

As I predicted, in the first SNP budget in Dundee, Education has not escaped unscathed from cuts. The headlines from the SNP's damaging cuts in Education in our city include:
  • removal of 11 visiting specialist art, design and drama teachers supporting primary schools across the city;
  • 6% reduction in the per pupil allocations for books and supplies for all nursery, primary and secondary schools - taking into account the rate of inflation for text books and consumables such as replacement toner cartridges for laser printers this is nearer a 10% cut in spending power or a reduction of about £5000 for each of the larger Secondary schools in the city;
  • early retirement scheme for experienced teachers aged 58 or over to save £0.5m;
  • end of funding for language assistants in secondary schools;
  • reduction in IT staff tutors working with schools and teachers;
  • removal of, or reduction in, funding to Fairer Scotland funded programmes that support pupils who are troubled or troublesome and
  • most parents in the city will find that by some postcode lottery, there are no planned reduction in the P1-3 class sizes at their children's school. Only the thirteen smallest primary schools in the city have been selected for this programme. For example, Broughty Ferry's three primary schools will not experience any class size reductions this year. In fact, since Barnhill, Eastern and Forthill primary schools are operating at or near to capacity, they would each need additional classrooms built in order to retain their current volume of pupils and accommodate P1-3 pupils in classes of 18 or under. As no money is budgeted for building permanent or temporary classrooms in the Council's capital plans for Education 2009/2012, its difficult to see how any progress on class size reduction in any Broughty Ferry primary school might be achieved. Of course all primary schools in the city will miss the impact and artistic support from the mobile Art, Design and Drama teachers. This seems particularly perverse given the additional demands of the curriculum for excellence and the provision of drama rooms in each of the six new PPP primary schools.
The capital budget also shows that the major refurbishment of Harris Academy is unlikely to start on site until late in 2011 and will not be complete until the latter quarter of 2013 or the first quarter of 2014. This timescale is also dependent on the Grove Centenary wing office conversion getting planning permission. This would then facilitate Council staff currently accommodated in the Rockwell building being relocated to the old Grove Office Conversion. Once Rockwell is empty, it would in turn provide the accommodation for the decant of Harris Academy while their school refurbishment takes place."