Classroom support and breakfast clubs targeted by cash-strapped council

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North Lanarkshire could lose all of its school breakfast clubs and most classroom assistants as the council struggles to pay for services.

The council had planned to use £1.2m of its pupil equity fund to help meet these costs, but this was blocked by the Scottish Government after the authority’s SNP group demanded the money be used to close the attainment gap in deprived areas.

Isabelle Boyd, assistant chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “There will be no compulsory redundancies among the classroom assistant workforce and no member of the workforce will lose money.

“All classroom assistants who wish to be employed will be redeployed into posts in early learning and ASN. All will be given additional, bespoke training and there will be opportunities for higher-graded posts.

“We will continue to work closely with trade unions to ensure any concerns are met.

“This is merely the implementation stage of a decision taken some time ago by the council following consideration by a cross-party sounding board of members, as is the central withdrawal of funding for breakfast clubs. In line with Scottish Government policy, the provision of nutrition in schools should be a matter for head teachers and there are concerns that breakfast clubs do not reach the most deprived children.

“Headteachers will be given the flexibility to develop a strategy which ensures they can support the children most in need on an individual school basis. This could include the flexibility to provide food outside of traditional mealtimes.” Unison North Lanarkshire says it has been informed that all secondary school classroom assistants will be redeployed, leaving just one classroom assistant per primary school — some currently have four.

In a message to union members, a spokesman said: “We understand that some of you will also be affected by this. We have no additional information at this time, but as soon as we do we will share this with you.”