Letter: Our children are getting a raw deal

I AM a parent of three children attending primary school and am extremely concerned at Renfrewshire Council's proposal to replace teachers with non-teaching staff for 2.5 hours of the school week, effectively reducing my children's education time by 10 per cent.

No other council in Scotland has presented this outrageous policy in an attempt to save money, therefore leaving Renfrewshire children at an educational disadvantage.

Within these 2.5 hours, my children will not be taught, as educational support staff are not qualified to teach the school curriculum. It's not even clear in the policy what training, qualifications and experience the new education support staff would have.

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Instead, with this new policy, my children will be given 2.5 hours of a "pre-planned and set enrichment programme" each week, delivered by education support staff. They would only deliver learning activities based around the following themes: citizenship, health and wellbeing, creativity and enterprise. It is highly questionable as to how this programme can meet the requirements of Curriculum for Excellence.

A major concern is over the quality of the programme and how it would effectively be implemented. How can we expect non teaching staff to control classes of 30+ children effectively? It takes teachers a number of years of training to be suitably skilled in this area. Safety, discipline and the wellbeing of children could be compromised.

Is this even legal? In a statement on 3 February, Anthony Finn, chief executive of the General Teaching Council in Scotland condemned the policy by Renfrewshire Council and questioned the legality of it.

I strongly believe this policy is detrimental to our children, to the integrity and professionalism of teaching and to the education system in Scotland.


St Barchans Road

Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire

North Ayrshire councillors' suggestion of a four-day school week (your report, 7 February) is a foolish one.

Parents - especially single parents, or those not particularly well-paid - would have to stay off work on a Monday or pay for nursery care for their young ones. Some might be lucky enough to have willing relatives to look after them. Some might not. And Friday is already a half-day for school pupils.

Teachers appear to have 13 weeks holiday a year. Do they spend it on some exotic beach? Or perhaps marking exams and keeping up with the latest developments in their subject, or furthering the progress of the students in their charge?

Perhaps North Ayrshire councillors should look to their own back yard, and consider cuts in bureaucracy.


Granton Road