Parents and pupils protest in council leader’s ward over proposed teacher cuts

Parents, teachers and pupils gathered in council leader Susan Aitken’s ward for a demonstration.

Parents, teachers and pupils gathered outside Langside Halls on Wednesday to demand plans to cut 450 teaching roles over three years are halted.

There was a big turnout in council leader Susan Aitken’s ward for a demonstration organised by Glasgow City Parents Group (GCPG).

Children held up posters and banners opposing the cuts while speakers from GCPG and trade unions EIS, GMB and Unison called on Glasgow City Council to reconsider the proposals.

One parent, Bob Douglas, whose daughter attends Tinto Primary, said: “My child’s school, we believe, is going to be affected to the tune of two and a half teacher places, which is going to have a huge effect on the level of education that can be provided to my daughter.”

He raised concerns about a reduction in outside activities for children and management having to be involved in teaching roles due to staffing levels.

“The education that’s going to be able to be delivered to our children is just not going to be to the same standard that you would expect and that we pay for,” he added.

“The powers that be need to do better. We are supposed to move forward as a society, I can only see us moving backwards at the movement. It is just not good enough.”

Wednesday’s demonstration was attended by parents and pupils from a range of south side schools, including Langside, Battlefield, Shawlands and Tinto primaries and Holyrood and King’s Park secondaries.

Leanne McGuire, chair of GCPG, said: “Those jobs that would be available over the next three years to support our young people, they are not going to be there. Our schools are going to be working at a reduced capacity and, as we know, their needs are already not being met.”

She also voiced concern over the potential loss of the at-risk MCR Pathways mentoring scheme which, she said, children “rely on coordinators for support”.

Ms McGuire added schools are going to “become more chaotic and a more challenging environment”. “It is not the fault of the teaching staff or school staff,” she added.

Susan Quinn, from the EIS union, said: “We have fabulous kids that may not get the support they deserve because of the cuts.”

“These cuts are going to have a big impact on our young people and the experiences they have. They are already affected by the covid pandemic, and not given the time to recover properly from that.”

She added 136 of the 172 teaching posts set to go this year will come from primary schools, and said the union has been asking councillors to campaign for more money for the last decade.

“We are a metropolitan city,” she said. “We should be treated as such and money should be provided by Holyrood for that. 

“Councillors of Glasgow have chosen not to campaign with us, and now they find themselves in this despicable situation where they are making these cuts.”

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “Officers will continue to support our headteachers and their schools during this time.

“At every stage we will do everything we can to minimise any impact to schools but in the current financial climate the council must look at every option.

“Officers are looking at several savings as part of a budget that required £108m of savings from council services over the next three years, not including social care.

“We know that this will be a worrying time for everyone — for many years education spending has been prioritised, relative to other services, in the budget process.

“However, with the education budget now amounting to more than half of service expenditure directed by the council, it is significantly more challenging to protect education when substantial savings are needed.”

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