Problem with non-teachers in primaries

14th January 2011 at 00:00

Renfrewshire EIS utterly condemns the proposed move by Renfrewshire Council to employ volunteers and non-teaching staff who will replace teachers in its schools next session, as you reported on December 2431.

Under these proposals, children will be taught for 2.5 hours per week for the whole year by non-teaching staff. It is a scandalous state of affairs and parents and teachers alike should be outraged.

This decision has been taken in a drive to make efficiency savings, but it is the first step on the road to a deregulated and possibly part- privatised education system.

Currently it is a requirement that all teachers in Scottish schools must be qualified and registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland. Renfrewshire Council's proposal is a direct threat, not only to standards in education, but also to the role of the GTCS. It is an audacious affront to everyone involved in education.

Parents will rightly be outraged by this attack on education. If sanctioned, it will not simply entail a one-off visit to a school by the occasional sports co-ordinator, it will mean unregistered individuals teaching children every day rather than qualified, registered and professional teachers.

Renfrewshire Council has admitted there will be a loss of 60 teaching jobs if these proposals are given the go-ahead. This comes on the back of the recent announcement that 70 classroom assistants will be lost to our primary and secondary schools. The promise to protect front-line education seems a hollow one.

Brian McGovern, negotiating secretary, Renfrewshire EIS.

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