South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has been accused of misleading the public in a smear campaign against the Labour Party following the announcement by the SNP Scottish Government that there has been a fall in teacher numbers across Scotland.
Although the Scottish Government has presided over a fall in teacher numbsr of over 2000 since 2010, Ms McAlpine has embarked on a smear campaign by trying lay the blame at Labour councils. In a press statement issued today (10 December) Ms McAlpine falsely claims that Dumfries and Galloway Council “was one of just a handful of local authorities – all Labour – who let the side down by failing to maintain teacher numbers at the same level as 2014” and “While the vast majority still met their commitment on teacher numbers, a small number of Labour-led councils, including D&G are letting the side down”. However, of the ten councils that showed a fall , three are SNP – the same number that have Labour as part of the administration.
Ms McAlpine also falsely claims that Dumfries and Galloway council were provided with enough extra funds by the Scottish Government to maintain teacher numbers despite it being a matter of public record that the council were allocated just £300,000 by the Government towards the £1.3 m cost of maintaining teacher numbers in a full year.
Ms McAlpine falsely claims that the Scottish Government funded a freeze in teacher numbers, but we were awarded just £300,000 towards the £1.3 m bill to maintain numbers and the council were forced to make savings in other parts of education to meet this bill. Our spending on teachers increased in the last year, despite the council having to make £8m of savings across the council in the past twelve months due to the cut in Government funding MsAlpine voted for.
MsMcAlpine also knows perfectly well that the council is actively recruiting more teachers but our efforts are being hampered by her and her Government. She needs to explain for example why she supported the Government’s refusal to allocate 19 more probationer teachers to our region and supported them being sent to other parts of Scotland and why she voted to cut supply teachers pay, which is making it almost impossible for councils to find enough supply teachers never mind fill vacant posts.
Parents and pupils in the region can rest assured that this council continues to provide one of the highest levels of education anywhere in Scotland in the face of massive Government cuts and despite MsMcAlpine constantly trying to talk done the achievements of our local schools”.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
- In the Scottish Government figures published on 9 December (but based on one census day in September) Dumfries & Galloway Council are showing a consistent teacher to pupil ratio across Primary and Secondary of 12.7 pupils per teacher, the second lowest ratio in mainland Scotland.
- No savings were taken by the Council in relation to teachers in last years budget.
- The total number of teachers in Dumfries and Galloway including early years shows at drop at time of census from 1520fte in 2014 to 1504fte this year, showing 16fte fewer teachers overall. This compares to a cut of 33fte in 2012/13 under the previous SNP Conservative Administration.
- At Census Day, Dumfries and Galloway Council had 11.08fte vacancies across schools being covered temporarily by existing staff due to the lack of supply teachers following cuts in pay by the Scottish Government. These posts are substantive posts and are being recruited to but do not show up in the census figures.
- Dumfries and Galloway was allocated 19 fewer probationer teachers than requested by the Scottish Government this year.
- With an increased focus on pupils achieving positive destinations post school, the Council are also seeking to recruit a further 5-7 fte posts for teaching staff within the Employability service.
- As part of the Council’s “Grown Your Own” Scheme, Dumfries and Galloway has requested an additional 10 places at the University of the West of Scotland for graduates working within Education Services and who met the essential criteria to apply for a PGDE (Primary Teaching) and are exploring the opportunity for a further 20 places be made available for the PGDE (primary) and 10 for the PGDE (secondary) for session 2016/17.
- In addition to Dumfries and Galloway council, nine other councils showed a fall in teacher numbers, only 2 of which are Labour and 3 are SNP.
Argyll and Bute – Ind/Con/Lib Dem control
Clackmannanshire- SNP control
Glasgow- Lab control
Moray- Con/In control
North Ayrshire- SNP control
North Lanarkshire- Lab
Scottish Borders- SNP/Ind/Lib Dem control
Stirling Lab/Con control