SNP cuts will Undermine Improvements to Schooling in the City

Providing an Opportunity to Expose the SNP's Education Cuts in Dundee

I have requested an opportunity for the Education Committee to consider the SNP's Education Cuts on Monday evening so that the extent and effect of these can be exposed. Far from improving schooling in Dundee, I think the planned cuts will undermine the improvements Labour made in the City. I am very concerned that improvements in attainment in our schools will be stalled or put into reverse.

All but one Primary School in Dundee will lose teaching staff as result of the SNP's cuts

In fifteen schools with under 220 pupils, such as Park Place Primary (151 pupils) and St Vincent's Primary School (212 pupils) will lose their Deputy Head Teacher post and their Head Teacher will effectively have no one to delegate management responsibility to when they are out of school or absent. The removal of the deputy's post in these schools will result in a reduction of the overall staffing for these schools by one post. (15 full time equivalent teacher posts lost in the city)

In eleven primary schools with between 221 and 325 pupils, the schools will lose the equivalent of 0.3 (just under a third) of a member of staff. For example, Blackness Primary School (305 pupils) will find their Deputy Head Teacher with a 0.5 teaching commitment. This will be partly offset by the appointment of a Principal Teacher from amongst the existing staff with a 0.2 allocation of time for management. This will result in the loss of a 0.3 post equivalent. (3.3 full time equivalent teacher posts lost in the city)

In ten further, larger schools, in the city (326-500 pupils) such as Criagowl (491 pupils) and Clepington (432 pupils) there will be an increase in the teaching commitment of the two depute head teachers by 0.5. This will mean that these school will lose half of a teacher's post further down the school. (five full time equivalent teacher posts lost in the city)

Forthill Primary School in the Ferry (520 pupils) is our largest primary school and hasn't yet achieved its full capacity. As it's in the largest category, it will attract a third depute head teacher post. However, the combined teaching commitment of these three deputes has been increased to 2 full time equivalent class teachers. Perversely this will mean that despite the appointment of a third Depute Head Teacher, there will be no more management time available in Forthill than many smaller schools in the city. This increase in teaching time by deputes will also displace another teacher further down the school. (one full time equivalent teaching post lost and one management post gained)

Undermining School Management

Finally, Head Teachers and Depute Head Teachers are not back room staff who shuffle paper. As their titles imply they are teachers first an foremost with responsibilities to fulfil vital roles such as quality assurance of teaching and learning including conducting classroom observations and mentoring new staff. They also often cover short term absences in their schools. As the budget for buying in short term cover is being cut too, management in our schools and covering for absence will be more problematic. What for example, will happen in our schools with no Deputes at all?

Dundee's Successful Structure for Raising Attainment – Endorsed by HMiE

When HMiE reported on the progress of the Education Authority in March 2009, they commented that:

'2 Continuous improvement

The authority had made significant progress since the original inspection.

Councillors, the Chief Executive, the Directors for Education and of Leisure and Communities articulated a clear vision for education in Dundee. They had taken the necessary strategic steps to develop appropriate structures and policy frameworks to help bring about improvements. The Education Department had been restructured to ensure a more focused approach to strategic management and quality assurance.

This had strengthened team work, provided more opportunities to share good practice and ensured a more consistent approach to support and challenge. The remits of the senior management team (SMT) had changed creating primary and secondary teams.

A new tier of management had been created which provided additional capacity in taking forward effectively the authority’s priorities. This included the implementation of the Learning and Teaching in Dundee (LTiD) and Improving Pupil Attainment and Achievement (IPAA) strategies.'


'Overall, the outcomes of HMIE follow-through inspections were positive. Schools, centres and community learning services had made sufficient progress to allow HMIE to disengage and make no further visits as a result of the original inspection.

The role of new education managers in overseeing the work of Quality Improvement Officers (QIOs) had made a positive contribution to improvements in schools and centres.'

Upsetting Dundee's Successful Structure for Raising Attainment

I think the £4.3 million cuts in the Education budget will result in putting at risk many of the gains which have been achieved in Dundee Schools. Dundee pupils, and their parents and carers deserve better.



Follow-up to the Inspection of the Education Function of Local Authorities [PDF]
Published 09/03/2009