SNP's Education Convener Should Explain her Education Cuts to Parents

Yesterday, I challenged the SNP's Education Convener to explain her proposed 19 education cuts to parents and carers in the city. I suggested that early in January, she should hold meetings across Dundee to explain the changes she is introducing to parents and carers whose children will be on the receiving end of these.

The SNP's cuts in the city will involve reductions in key parts of the education service and I think all schools will be affected. The Education Convener, Councillor Liz Fordyce needs to spell out what each of her nineteen cuts will involve. So far she hasn't explained the impact of what each of these will represent on the ground for the education of our children. This needs to be clear primarily to parents and carers as well as opposition councillors like me.

In last week's local papers the Education Convener, was asked about her city campus idea. This will apparently see senior pupils move round the city to take some of their higher examination courses at schools other than their own. On Wednesday last week, Councillor Fordyce revealed that she had not yet considered the transport arrangements and costs of moving senior pupils around the city. On Thursday, she also admitted that the coordinated timetabling necessary between the nine secondary schools in the city had yet to be worked out too.

Another area needing clarification is the impact of the early retirement savings. How many fewer teacher will be working in our schools as a result of these changes and how will each school be affected? For example, I understand that there will be an overall reduction in the number of support for learning teachers in primary and secondary schools. This will reduce the help available to children with learning difficulties. These are certainly not 'back office' jobs.

So I think Councillor Liz Fordyce should get out and explain her programme of cuts to parents in the city. I and my colleagues in the Labour Group are of course prepared to attend the meetings with parents I am urging her to organise. Before she says that we will need to wait until after the Council's budget on Thursday 10 February, parents do need to be informed now. All these changes may affect the school parents want to send their child to from August 2011. If parents want to send in a placing request to the Council, these need to be submitted by Monday 7 February.