Thursday, January 18, 2018

Local mother speaks out against proposed Highland Council education cuts

Luan has sent the Gurn a copy of a letter she has sent to MSPs. Luan is deeply concerned about proposed cuts to Eduction in the Highland Council area that have been reported in the local media. 

She told us: "This is my email to MSPs 

Dear MSPs, 

I am writing to you to ask what you will do for our children’s education in Highland? There is no time to waste and this needs cross party action. Every parent in the Highlands will be worried about the news of massive cuts to education & will be looking to you to stand up for our children. 

“The Administration is finalising the proposals for the budget meeting on February 15. These do not yet close the estimated budget gap of £25.8m, but there are a number that will impact on schools, including:

“Reduction, in Additional Support for Learning in schools. This will involve significant reductions in the number of PSAs (Pupil Support Assistants) and ASN (Assistant Special Needs) teachers.

“Reduction in special additional support services. This is likely to impact in educational psychology, behaviour support, English as an additional language, interrupted learning, autism, assistive technology, and pre-school support services.

“Reduced teacher staffing in medium sized and larger secondary schools, involving around 40 posts.”

These cuts must be stopped. There are other areas to save money and these must be investigated, any cuts to education are bad but the impact of the cuts proposed by Highland Council will be hugely detrimental to our educators and to children and their future. 

Whether your child has additional needs or not this will be detrimental to their education. This will have a huge impact on the learning of all children in Highland, and especially for the outcomes for the most disadvantaged children, who need the most support - society benefits from early intervention, better life chances benefits all in terms of reducing crime & dependency, improving mental health & helping all children achieve their potential, as well as improving employment opportunities. What you put in you get back. 

Teacher stress will increase because they don’t get the support they need, they’ll spend less time teaching and more time managing behaviour, there will be more exclusion of disruptive children - which will significantly impact their chances in life. Stress causes ill health and absences. Even the most able, well adjusted and academically achieving children will suffer, as their teachers will be too busy trying to deal with disruptive behaviour instead of ensuring all children reach their potential. Our children are an investment for the future, early intervention has a huge influence in their development, education and life chances. Everyone who cares should be fighting these cuts every step of the way.

I speak as a parent of a ‘neuro-typical’ child & of an autistic child - I know for a fact that the level of support my autistic child has received, especially in terms of early intervention has helped him access mainstream school & allowed teachers to concentrate on teaching. 

I await your response and strongly believe there will be protests across the Highlands at the threat of these cuts. I don’t want to hear blame, I want to hear what you will all do for all of our children now. 

Kind regards,"

Luan is calling for a good turnout at the meeting of the Nairn Academy Parent Council on Tuesday night.


Anonymous said...

Where else can be cut though? I dont envy the decision makers as nobody wants their piece cut back. I do think a lot of the austerity is counter productive though. Reduce support for children and more will lean on the system later. Cut swimming pools etc and poorer health costs more for the nhs etc etc

Anonymous said...

As long as the budget for the Gaelic isn't cut things will be fine.

Grim reaper said...

It's a loaded question for Luan but if education is to be preserved where would she suggest that cuts be made?

Highland Council has already overspent its winter budget

There are more cuts to come and the reality surely is that all sectors of our society are going to suffer?

Troy austerity hasn't worked and now we're all about to pay for that

Still, we have to fallout from Brexit to look forward to when we'll all be better off

NAPC Survey said...

One thing everyone in Nairn can do to help is to contribute to the survey about the state of the buildings at Nairn Academy that the Parent Council has set up - see The more information we have about what local people think about the condition of the Academy the better, as the Ward 9 Councillors can then argue in the Council Chamber that pressing for a new Academy in Nairn is something that has local support.

The Scottish Govt does not pass on all the rural adjustment funding to Highland that is provided under the UK Govt funding system - that is just one of many reasons why Highland is under-funded compared to many other local authorities in Scotland.

Graisg said...

@ anon 9.33 You really should go to the police. They do take action, there was a constable at the recent NRCC meeting asking people to report anti-social behaviour.

Graisg said...

@ NAPC survey. Tom Heggie was talking about the state of the Academy and what needs to be done on Wednesday night at the NRCC meeting, will post something about that when time permits.

Anonymous said...

Every external wall In Nairn Academy Inside and out is sprayed with Asbestos. Its in a shocking state!

Graisg said...

Just interiors isn't it? Do you have any data on that Anon?

Anonymous said...

The cuts are about staffing levels of teachers and support teachers. Funding for the building comes from a different budget. A new school is all well and good but if there are not enough teachers and support assistants to facilitate the learning and wellbeing of the kids, then what's the point!

HSR Psychology said...

In England we have already seen a reduction in funding for local authority educational psychology services and behavioural support. It is important that we meet the needs of all children and young people with SEND.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the “Tory” austerity means that people haven’t learned to spell correctly.

How can the Conservatives be to blame when education is devolved? Just to let you know this means that the so wonderful SNP are currently in charge of education and Westminster has nothing to do with it. The SNP are in charge of how education is funded and clearly don’t think it is a priority.

Nae a Tory said...

@ Anon 3:07 PM

The SNP are in charge of 'a' budget given by WM out of which they have to divi up. I can understand your comments if Scotland was independent. learnt rather than 'learned' was the word I was taught in Scotland but would hate to be a pedant! Maybe I should attend a Tory school?