Scottish Government could take schools away from councils
The Scottish education secretary Fiona Hyslop has said she is looking at taking the control of schools away from councils north of the border.
The move follows a row over who is to blame for falling teacher numbers and increased class sizes.
Ms Hyslop claims councils have spent £110m of funding intended to go on teachers salaries for other projects and said she would discuss with the Scottish local government group, Cosla, 'whether the Scottish Government needs to examine alternatives to the system of local government delivery of education.'
In a statement she said:
'Half of Scotland's councils have delivered improvements in primary school class sizes half have not. What is more, there has been a sharp fall in the number of teachers. That is simply unacceptable.
'We now have to find a new way forward to ensure class size reductions in all of Scotland's councils. The Scottish Cabinet will hold talks with Cosla leaders to discuss how we achieve this.'
She also singled out Glasgow City Council for particular criticism.
'Glasgow City Council is responsible for more than one quarter of the total fall in teacher numbers,' she said.
'For one authority among 32 councils to account for such a huge drop is deplorable.
'What is truly shocking is that Glasgow City Council has increased class sizes and cut teacher numbers at exactly the same time as figures for attainment show they are the worst performing council in Scotland.'
Cosla said it was shocked and disappointed at the comments.
Education spokeswoman, Isabel Hutton said: 'Accusations that councils have made savings from reducing teacher numbers, or redirected those resources elsewhere are disappointing and ill informed.
'Budgetary decisions are not taken by accident or in a vacuum, and it is again no coincidence that teacher numbers have fallen by 2.5%, which is exactly the salary increase in the current year of the teacher's pay deal.
'Councils do not make savings and reduce staff without careful analysis of what this means in terms of outcomes.
'Class sizes have improved and local government has delivered year on year progress exactly as agreed in the Concordat. Local Government is moving on class size reduction as quickly as resources allow.'
32 Directors of Education, and their support staff, in a country the size of Scotland. With such a highly structured curriculum, how could anybody suggest that this does not achieve best value?Not willing, Added: Tuesday, 1 December 2009 09:25 AM
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