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Grant 'not enough' to cover security

One of the first authorities to discuss school security following the Government's allocation of Pounds 33 million over three years has dismissed the sum as inadequate.

Daniel McCafferty, education convener of West Dunbartonshire, told his committee the Pounds 200,000 granted to the authority, while welcome, would not solve the problem.

The council was still expected to meet 25 per cent of the cost of security. Mr McCafferty said: "This is against a background of having to cut Pounds 1.85m from this year's education budget which cost jobs, a massive reduction in resources to schools, increased charges and a school closure."

The Government's specific grant scheme was not new money but was simply "robbing Peter to pay Paul, or more probably robbing Peter and Paul to Michael's advantage".

Mr McCafferty added that if the Government was sincere in wanting school security improved, 100 per cent funding should be available.

Ian McMurdo, education director, commended the report Safer Schools, Safer Children, which a council working party had drawn up on daytime security in schools. He said that it probably went further than Lord Cullen's recommendations after the Dunblane massacre.

The report sets out how schools can develop their own safety policies and procedures. It stresses that many improvements can be made at low cost, and that they have as much to do with security awareness and the taking of sensible precautions as with installing security devices.

Aberdeenshire council has outlined ways in which stricter school security will be pursued.

Michael White, education director, reported to his committee that staff would be issued with identification badges and would have to sign in and out of buildings.

Extra signs will be fitted to give visitors directions as to the entrance they should use and where they should report to. The cost will be Pounds 67, 000, three-quarters of which will be met by the government grant.

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