A Gamble with the Future of our Children?

At the Policy and Resources Committee tonight, Councillors are being asked to approve a new round of enhanced early retirement for Teachers in Dundee schools. 

Judging by the interest in previous rounds of early retirements, there may well be be many inquiries from serving teachers about taking up this new offer. 

But can we afford to reduce our number of serving teachers any further?

Since this time last year we know that there are 99 fewer teachers working in our schools. The Director of Education's comments in the Courier last week indicate that he thinks there is scope for a further reduction in teacher numbers as we have a favourable pupil teacher ratio compared with other councils in urban areas.

Additionally, the Scottish Government have threatened financial penalties if teacher numbers were not maintained year by year by local authorities.

So how much lower does Councillor Ken Guild (Leader of the Council and Convener of the Finance and General Purposes Committee) think teacher numbers can fall without incurring financial penalties?

And how much lower does Councillor Liz Fordyce (Convener of the Education Committee) think teacher numbers can fall without damaging attainment and achievement in our schools?

I think we need reassuring answers to these questions before we can take a decision to approve this new round of early retirement of teachers. Anything less would I think be a gamble with the future of our children.