Union warns of teacher cuts in West Lothian

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Changes to class teaching time  to save  West Lothian Council almost  £3 million  will mean a 10 per cent cut in the number of teachers in West Lothian, the EIS has claimed.

Council education officers  have introduced the option of “refocusing the school day” as one way of saving money.

In a report to the council’s Education PDSP officials described a ” new model for class cover for reducing class contact time cover, reflecting arrangements in other authorities and replacing 2.5 hours per week teaching time with new learning experiences and activities facilitated or supervised by advanced pupil support worker”.

“There would be no change to the length of the school day, nor would there be any change to teachers’ required maximum class contact time of 22.5 hours per week,” according to the report.

Heather Hughes, the local EIS Secretary said  West Lothian would be the first council in Scotland to inflict a 10 per cent cut in  real terms  in teaching staff.

She asked officers: “How does a 95 hours cut in GTC teaching and learning time  equate to raising attainment?”

Officials  highlighted that the changes remained an option for discussion with stakeholders on the best way to provide the curriculum, which was  evolving.

Ms Hughes also questioned whether teachers, or teaching assistants who would take on the extra class time, had been consulted.

Consultations have so far been informal because the  proposals have not been agreed by councillors.

She added: “I’d like the elected members to put this out to grass  now.

“There are other ways of closing the budget gap.

“Do not make the young people of West  Lothian pay.

“We don’t need to cut teachers, we need more teachers.”

Councillor Andrew Miller said: “There is clearly  a high level of  discontent among teachers and I would hope there would be dialogue with them. I could not support these proposals in their current form.”