Councils put a brave face on spending

22nd February 2008 at 00:00
Most of Scotland's education authorities - 25 out of 32 - have fixed their spending for 2008-09, and most have increased their budgets. But efficiency savings are not far below the surface. The TESS outlines an exclusive picture of the year ahead and profiles the motives influencing the 'big spender', Glasgow

Education leaders in Glasgow, Scotland's largest council, acknowledge theirs is a tight settlement, with a net increase of 2 per cent this year.

But they argue that, by doing things differently, they can deliver better services.

"If we spend the same amount of money in the same way as previously, we will get the same results - and that's not good enough," insists Gordon Matheson, executive member for education and social renewal.

He welcomes the removal of ring-fenced funding, but will not be targeting the money that will be released on cutting class sizes in the early years, as the SNP Government would wish. He insists there are better ways to raise attainment. "The Scottish Government has not funded this policy: they know it, we know it, the dogs in the street know it," he says.

Margaret Doran, the council's executive director for education and social work, has instituted a reorganisation of services into five local areas, which she argues will integrate education, social work and health more closely and allow education management teams to respond better to local needs. Her mantra is: "Identify what a community needs and work backwards from there."

But she wants greater efficiency and effectiveness, as well as service improvements - and these measures may prove controversial.

Ms Doran wants to carry out the first ever audit of the council's "historical" allocation of staff to schools and resources which could, in turn, lead to a redistribution of staff.

She wants to know if, over and above the core staffing level, the number of staff and resources reflect a school's or learning centre's needs - particularly when measured against the requirements of the Additional Support for Learning Act.

"What the audit might show is that we have far greater need than we thought - but that's OK," she says. "At least for this year, we will know exactly where the need is and be able to allocate additional staff to meet it."

Devolved school budgets are being cut by 2 per cent, but the money that was previously ring-fenced will now be released to each of the council's 29 learning communities. This should mean that the cut in real terms is only 1 per cent, says Ms Doran.

An important addition to the council's provision is a plan for a primary and a secondary learning centre for each of the five new management areas in the city. The centres will have multi-agency staffing and deal with some of the most vulnerable, disruptive or troubled youngsters, offering everything from play, music or art therapy to family workers and anger management. The first of these should open this August, although the location has not yet been announced.

But teaching unions are concerned about the lack of detail for the other four education management areas and fear "back-sliding" in future. Gordon Matheson insists the plan has been allocated an additional pound;1 million, with matching funding from the council's community plan.


As well as service improvements, Glasgow is aiming for "efficiencies" from cuts in schools with falling rolls. It also wants to cut 124 teaching jobs, but not compulsorily. Margaret Doran expects job cuts to come from mergers, natural wastage and early retirements. A potentially explosive issue between management and unions is a proposal to move some continuing professional development - mainly sessions covered in a half-day - into the "twilight" period.

Ms Doran has identified the cost of supply cover as a potential saving. Instead of a school paying pound;187 per day for a supply teacher, she wants payments of about pound;40 for teachers who attend a two-hour CPD session after school. But the Educational Institute of Scotland is baulking at her insistence that staff should only be eligible for the pay after completing the 35 hours' annual CPD quota. "That is opening up the whole issue of fruitless discussion between staff and management about what constitutes the 35 hours of CPD," says Willie Hart, EIS Glasgow secretary.


pound;142million for schools

+4.2 per cent

Lib DemSNP

The council says that spending on the education element of children's services has increased by 3.7 per cent. Spending on overheads will be reduced, especially on buildings, and there will be tighter control on transport costs.


pound;239 million for education, learning and leisure

+8.6 per cent

Lib DemCon

An extra pound;600,000 has been allocated for the development of Glow, the schools' intranet. There will be pound;750,000 less for school transport and school meals. Staffing levels will remain the same.


pound;122 million for education

+11.5 per cent

LabLib Dem

An extra pound;118,000 of funding will go to breakfast and after-school clubs.

East Ayrshire

pound;100 million for education

-2.25 per cent efficiency savings


Reviewing staffing, particularly temporary jobs, and economies in back-room functions from joint education and social work. Early retirements and delays in filling vacancies. School budgets protected so far, but efficiency savings of 3 per cent planned next year.

East Dunbartonshire

pound;87 million for education

+1.5 per cent


The council reports that "there is still considerable work to be done on the detail of budget construction."

East Lothian

pound;84 million

for education and

children's services

+0.45 per cent

SNPLib Dem

Schools will have to make a 1.5 per cent efficiency saving, central services 3 per cent. An extra pound;260,000 is earmarked for schools to reduce S1 and S2 maths and English class sizes and for teaching children with special needs.

East Renfrewshire

pound;100 million

+ 5.18 per cent LabSNPLib DemIndependent

Looking for pound;900,000 back-room savings, but frontline services virtually untouched, apart from "small pruning" of school budgets. Extra pound;100,000 being spent on youth workers.


pound;143 million

for education services

+11.5 per cent


No major cuts. Increased spending to reflect additional number of school places, and improvements to nurseries through the capital programme.


pound;270 million

for education

+9.7 per cent

SNPLib Dem

Increase of 6 per cent for books and resources, investing in software to track pupil attainment. Efficiency savings from other areas will be used to fund class size cuts in early years.


pound;493 million

for education

+2 per cent

Lab (see main story)


pound;229 million

for education, culture and sport

+5.8 per cent


pound;140,000 will be found by "rationalisation of teaching posts in schools which are provided over and above the devolved school management entitlement."


pound;70 million

for education

+3 per cent


Investment priorities will be looked-after children's educational attainment, community education, a doubling of the school clothing grant, a trust fund for sporting and musical excellence, an increased library fund and more money for outdoor education.


pound;90 million

for education and communities

+9.2 per cent

Lab minority

More vocational training in schools will cost pound;100,000. Proposals to cut pound;400,000 from devolved school budgets, equivalent to the loss of 10-12 teaching posts, were rejected.


pound;87 million

for educational services

+ 1.9 per cent


An additional pound;500,000 has been allocated to cover out-of-area placements. Meanwhile, the council hopes to save around pound;100,000 by bringing school ICT maintenance in-house. A review of ring-fenced budgets is hoped to lead to savings of pound;250-270,000.

North Ayrshire

pound;118 million

for education

-3 per cent


School budgets are being cut by 1.5 per cent.

North Lanarkshire

pound;358 million

for education

+ 5.5 per cent


Investment includes footwear and clothing grants increases, maintaining the cost of school meals, and vocational education. However, it still has to make pound;3.2 million in savings through centralisation of services, procurement of resources and increasing income.


pound;30 million

for education and recreation

-1.5 per cent


Schools are protected, but there will be a freeze on devolved school budgets for the second year running.

Perth Kinross

pound;140 million

for education and children's services

+16.8 per cent

(increase includes expenditure on PPP projects)

SNPLib Dem

No cuts are planned. Community learning and development is being "boosted". Frontline services have been protected, with no cuts to school budgets or staffing. Increases of pound;200,000 will go on raising attainment initiatives and pound;100,000 towards community learning and development.


pound;149 million

for education

+6.85 per cent

SNPLib Dem

Education's share of efficiency savings was a little over pound;4 million, around half that of the council as a whole. Just under pound;3 million came from school budgets and pound;1 million was saved from falling rolls.

Scottish Borders

pound;98 million

for education and lifelong learning

Standstill budget

ConLib DemInd

Savings of pound;2 million from efficiencies, increased charges and rationalising services, including pound;874,000 less (2 per cent) for devolved primary and secondary school budgets. But increased pupil numbers will cost pound;309,000 more, increased transport costs add another pound;442,000 and there will be an extra pound;411,000 for pre-school education.


pound;36 million

for education

+7.5 per cent


No major cuts, but efficiency savings could affect supply cover.

South Ayrshire

pound;100 million

for education, culture and lifelong learning

+8.39 per cent

(includes pound;4.6 million additional funding towards PPP charges)

Con minority

"Efficiency measures have been taken to ensure provision of education services within the available budget".

South Lanarkshire

pound;256 million

for education

+0.4 per cent


Efficiency measures include asking primary depute heads to take on teaching responsibility, reducing secondary teaching staff budgets and cutting the number of depute heads in some secondary schools.

West Dunbartonshire

pound;86.5 million

for education

+1.78 per cent


No change to early intervention - the acclaimed literacy strategy which had been threatened with cuts.

West Lothian


for education and cultural services

+4.3 per cent


An additional pound;250,000 to supplement funding for Determined to Succeed will be directed to keeping school leavers out of 'Neet' trap. Additional staffing (0.4 full time equivalent) will be allocated to each secondary school to support these pupils, with the aim of reducing their number by over 10 per cent each year.

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