Education budgets ‘on a precipice’

12th January 2018 at 00:05
Council budgets 'on a precipice'
Secondary subject choices and staff numbers may be reduced to make savings, Tes Scotland analysis shows

Analysis of local authority budget proposals shows that education may be more vulnerable to budget cuts than at any time in recent memory.

With most councils setting their annual budgets next month, some are considering drastic proposals, including a reduction in teacher numbers and the range of subjects open to secondary pupils.

Council bosses say they are dealing with huge financial pressure – Moray warns that it stands “on the edge of a financial precipice” – and even areas of flagship government policies are affected, including additional support, class sizes and vocational education.

A common theme is more decisions and responsibility shifting from councils to schools, echoing government ambitions designed to empower headteachers.

Tes Scotland has previously highlighted other vulnerable areas, including music, outdoor education and school libraries.

SLS president David Barnett said in an interview with Tes Scotland last week that education could no longer assume the same level of protection from local cuts as in the past.

A Scottish government spokesman says: “Local government funding to schools has been very fair and is increasing, despite the cuts to the Scottish budget from the UK government. We want far more decisions on school funding to be in the hands of those with the expertise and insight to target resources at the greatest need – the schools themselves. That’s why we consulted on fairer funding for schools, as set out in the Programme for Government, and we are committed to producing firm proposals by summer 2018.”

This is an edited version of an article in the 12 January edition of Tes Scotland. Subscribers can read the full story here. To subscribe, click here. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here. Tes Scotland magazine is available at all good newsagents.

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