Sunday, August 18, 2019
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Highland Council has been urged to abandon plans to cut secondary school teacher numbers after the Scottish Government pledged at least an extra £7.5m to the local authority as part of its Budget deal.

Kate Forbes MSP said that with the extra revenue (for teachers) and capital (for school buildings) settlements, Highland Council now had to sort out woefully inadequate premises as well as abandon its austerity programme.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch spoke out after scores of constituents voiced their concerns about Highland Council's plans to chop teacher numbers in the region.

Although the local authority done a u-turn on reducing additional support needs staff, its plans to cut secondary school teachers remain.

And this week at least one school rector emailed worried staff, parents and pupils spelling out the extent of the teacher cuts in that school.

Kate Forbes MSP said: "This is a budget which unequivocally delivers for the Highlands.

"The draft budget already included a commitment to £600 million of investment in rolling out broadband, £400 million extra for the health service and £756 million towards the 50,000 affordable homes in Scotland.

"Whilst the draft budget already fairly protected local authority budget, today's (31 January) news increases the amount even further. This means that there is a real terms increase in local authorities' revenue and capital budgets."

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch continued: "I was disappointed and incredulous at Highland Council's proposals to cut additional support need staff and teachers across the Highlands a few weeks ago.

"Today's increases meant that there is absolutely no excuse to keep any cuts to teacher numbers on the table.

"Highland Council must protect education spend, at a time when the Scottish Government has again allocated £120 million going directly to head teachers.

"This is about ensuring that Highland kids have the same opportunities as kids in other council areas.

"After today's budget announcement, there is no excuse for cuts in education or infrastructure."


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