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Basic school supplies are being paid for by parents

Parent councils in Renfrewshire say they are no longer fund-raising to provide the "extras" in school, but for the basic supplies such as paper and pencils.

So worried are they about budget cuts they have called on the SNP-led council to ask the Scottish Government to rescind its policy of providing free meals to P1-3 pupils, which they claim is costing the authority pound;1.5 million a year.

A representative of Bishopton Primary Parent Council told the annual conference of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council last week that parents raised pound;20,000 in a year to pay for Promethean interactive boards, because the council could only afford a few. Now, their efforts were needed to pay for basics, he said. The head had had to replace fire doors using money from other budgets, such as supply cover and continuing professional development.

He and a parent representative of Gryffe High in Houston said they felt schools in more affluent areas were being hit harder, because it was assumed that parents could afford to make up the shortfall. "Our school has a good reputation, but it doesn't have enough textbooks for children to do their homework," said the representative.

SPTC development officer Judith Gillespie said the organisation planned to survey its members next year to get a picture of what parents were funding.

Councillor Lorraine Cameron, convener of Renfrewshire Council's education policy board, said: "The council held positive discussions with parent councils as part of our pre-budget consultation exercise. These explored a range of financial and attainment issues and we have taken on board their views. While some parent councils feel the introduction of free school meals is a lower priority, other groups see it as essential in tackling health issues."

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