Row at council over threat to teaching jobs

Motherwell Civic Centre
Motherwell Civic Centre

North Lanarkshire Council has denied it is planning to shed more education jobs despite a committee report suggesting otherwise.

A row broke out at the Learning and Leisure Services Committee last week, when an SNP amendment to the annual education Service Plan was defeated by Labour 15-10.

Learning and Leisure spokesman, Councillor Tom Johnston, wanted to delete a reference to ‘anticipated’ future cuts in support staff and teachers in 2016-18 and replace it with an undertaking to ‘aim to maintain current agreed numbers of support staff and teachers’.

He said: “Under the current three-year cuts programme, which ends in 2015/16, the council aims to get rid of 48 secondary teachers, 39 primary teachers and 34 permanent supply teachers.

“Now we are expected to anticipate even more teaching cuts up to 2018. We have to stand up and fight this and I am amazed that Labour actually opposes this amendment.”

“The Scottish Government has offered councils £51 million extra in its budget for 2015-16 specifically to maintain the number of teachers in line with the number of pupils in Scotland.

“This move shows there is no need for defeatist talk of “anticipating “ cuts in teaching posts.”

Councillor Jim Logue, Convener of Learning and Leisure Services, responded: “The statement in the service plan was simply about the challenges we face over the short, medium and long term and how we will respond to any future budget reductions.

“Like all local authorities we continually review all aspects of our budget to ensure we deliver best value, and I’m proud to say that we continue to do the best by our young people.”