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Fuller picture on cutbacks in West Dunbartonshire

Your report on council cutbacks to continuing professional development budgets over the past three years (November 19) presented an interesting, if partial, picture.

While your table indicates that West Dunbartonshire has imposed the third- highest level of cuts of any council in Scotland, it fails to take account of the baseline position from which each council began.

If one calculates the amount spent on CPD per teacher (full-time equivalent) for each authority for the past three years, West Dunbartonshire was the third-highest spender of the 28 authorities for which data was available in 2008-09. In 2009-10, we were the highest spender per FTE teacher of 29 authorities.

Even after a 43 per cent reduction between the baseline and the current year, we are still the eighth-highest spender per FTE of the 29 authorities listed for 2010-11, using provisional teacher numbers for the current session. We have a CPD budget of pound;376 for every FTE teacher in the authority, a significant investment by any standards.

At a time when council budgets are under such intense scrutiny, it is important to have the full picture before rushing to judgment.

Terry Lanagan, executive director of educational services, West Dunbartonshire Council.

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