Thursday, February 01, 2018

Nairn Academy Parent Council asks parents to contact elected councillors, MSPs and Highland Council leaders in campaign to stop education cuts

A Nairn Academy Parent Council spokesperson told the Gurn:  

"Just wanted to let you know that there has been communication this week from Nairn Academy Parent Council to parents and carers via the school blog and Facebook. Highland Council budget decisions will be made on 15th February with potentially very damaging cuts to secondary schools, these cuts would have an impact an ALL pupils at the school. We have asked parents to contact elected councillors, MSPs and Highland Council leaders about the situation."

This is the communication sent to Parents:

"You may be aware that there were changes last week in the Highland Council options being considered regarding budgets cuts affecting school staffing, and a perceived u-turn on some proposals. However, the issue of cuts in education has not gone away, and if cuts go through there will be impact on all pupils at the school. It is likely that the impact will be seen most in secondary schools, including teacher reductions in all schools that have a roll over 250 pupils. Nairn Academy cuts will include a loss of two teachers – perhaps more. This will impact the availability of subject choices and levels of qualifications offered for our children. There will be even more pressure on teachers affecting morale, recruitment and retention. The school leadership team will not have sufficient time to manage the school as they will be covering class teaching. Reduced staffing will have an impact on all pupils in the class including those with additional support needs, these are just some of the impacts of the proposed cuts."

Here is the suggested text to a letter that the NAPC have asked parents to send to councillors:

Dear Councillors

As parents of children in Secondary Education in Highland, we are appalled at the Education Service savings options being proposed by Highland Council Officials for consideration by the Elected embers on 15 February. 

We appreciate that it is the Highland Council view that it is being forced into £25.8M of savings by a combination of cuts in its Scottish Government funding and the associated enforced balancing of the budget. Furthermore we do realise that you have been given a ridiculously short timescale for considering how to resolve this funding disaster. 

However, we cannot accept cuts of 40 teaching staff and many more Pupil Support Assistants across the 20 or so Secondary Schools under threat of cuts, nor the proposed 20% reduction in Additional Support Needs provision. It is very clear to us that cuts of this scale will devastate teaching provision and thus learning in schools like Nairn Academy. Across Highland our schools have already suffered significant reductions in staffing over the last decade, and we are under no illusions that most secondary schools will be forced to further reduce subject choices, and probably abandon Advanced Highers entirely, if these cuts go ahead. 

The education of our children is key to the success of our communities in future, both economic and social. If more resources are needed, have the courage to confront the Scottish Government with the injustice of its approach to the Highlands by challenging the financial settlement. We know that good public services cost money, and that the Highland Council faces by far the most complex and demanding task of any Local Authority in Scotland. But before imposing cuts of the sort being proposed you must first demand – on our behalf – a fair settlement from the Scottish Government, and then make the case – to the Council Taxpayers of Highland - for raising more revenue locally.

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