Pupils will suffer from cutbacks, say teachers' union leaders

13th July 2001 at 01:00
A sorry tale of poor financial controls and a huge overspend is unresolved, bringing more headaches for schools, John Cairney reports

Teachers' leaders claim Borders pupils will be adversely affected by the planned cuts in several ways. Jock Houston, secretary of the Scottish Borders local association of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said IT departments in secondary schools had been promised new computers would arrive on the second last day of the session.

"Schools were then told that the money had been spent on something else, though the council now claims that the money set aside was not enough," Mr Houston said. "Departments have been keeping machines going and stretching their life in anticipation of getting new ones in August. Some principal teachers are telling us that certain parts of the Standard grade and Higher courses cannot be taught if there's a postponement to next March."

Mr Houston also hit out at the planned saving of pound;49,000 to be made by not appointing foreign language assistants. "This leaves some departments teaching with one hand tied behind their backs. We have just got these assistants back this year and now they are to be taken away again.

"This makes it impossible for departments to organise small groups of pupils working with a native speaker. This could be a disadvantage when it comes to the spoken part of Standard grade and Higher," he said.

Councillor Drew Tulley, the convener of Scottish Borders Council, continued to maintain the public line that the recent suspension and subsequent sacking of John Taylor, the education department's assistant director responsible for finance, was "not linked directly" to the education overspend and said that there was no "black hole".

Mr Tulley said: "We know where the money has been spent - it has been spent on education."

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