Council plan to remove teachers is 'shameful'

24th December 2010 at 00:00
A Scottish council plans to replace primary teachers with culture, leisure and sport staff, allowing it to cut 60 teaching posts and save over half a million pounds.

A Scottish council plans to replace primary teachers with culture, leisure and sport staff, allowing it to cut 60 teaching posts and save over half a million pounds.

Renfrewshire Council will decide in January whether or not sessional staff, as opposed to qualified teachers, will deliver 2.5 hours a week of lessons in primary schools.

The staff - who would work with children on topics such as citizenship and health, and encourage sport and cultural activity - would be used to cover teachers' planning and preparation time, a role currently carried out by other teachers.

The proposal, called Architecture Model for Primary Schools, would involve creating around 140 new jobs for sessional staff but 60 teaching posts would be lost through voluntary redundancy, saving the council around pound;800,000.

Lorraine Cameron, the council's education policy board convener, said: "We believe this proposal would benefit pupils and better integrate approaches to tackle social, health and lifestyle issues for our young people."

The move would enhance the pupils' current educational experience in line with Curriculum for Excellence, she added.

Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, called the proposal "shameful" and accused the council of dressing it in "a cloak of respectability" by portraying it as a component of Curriculum for Excellence.

"It is one thing for outside experts to come into schools and contribute to pupils' learning," he said. "But this proposal is to remove teachers and save money by substituting cheaper, unqualified staff for 10 per cent of the normal pupil week."

Labour leader Iain Gray, meanwhile, took Alex Salmond to task over the SNP-run council's plans at First Minister's question time.

"For the first time in 40 years pupils are to be taught by those who are not qualified to teach," he said.

Two thirds of the reduction in teacher numbers throughout Scotland had occurred in Labour councils, Mr Salmond retorted.

emma.seith@tes.co.uk.

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