Update: 6 January 2017
“Teachers left to cope after cuts to support staff” (TES Scotland, 6 January 2017)
‘“extremely concerned” about falling numbers at a time when the demands of ASN were “rocketing”.
‘He said the overall picture was “a depressing one”. He added that staff were “being steadily taken out of many mainstream classrooms” and that the educational experience for all children was being “compromised”.
‘Mr Atkinson questioned how the government could hope to reduce the attainment gap between wealthy and poor children “if the very staff who work most closely with these kids are being stripped out of the system”. Unlike teachers, he said, support staff numbers are not protected.
‘“If support staff are disappearing, who has to pick up the additional needs work left behind? Our teachers, that’s who,” he added.’
Update: 27 May 2016
“Not paid the ‘living wage'”
Commening to TESS this week, Professional Officer (Scotland) Dougie Atkinson said:
“Teachers obviously make a hugely important contribution to education in Scotland but they are not the only ones.
“Early years practitioners, additional needs support staff, early literacy support staff and many others also play key roles in helping often the most vulnerable young people achieve their potential. And these staff are often very poorly paid – in fact they are the poorest paid people delivering education in schools and nurseries across Scotland. With councils slashing costs as a consequence of cuts imposed by the Scottish Government, it is often this group of workers that suffer most.
“We understand that there is a finite pot of money to pay for our education system. And that pot is shrinking. But we need to make sure that in seeking to keep up teacher numbers and award them modest pay rises we do not make the early years and support staff suffer disproportionately. The Government will not make any inroads on their flagship policy of narrowing the attainment gap without these key members of staff.”
He was quoted in TESS today:
4 March 2016
“Collapse” in school support staff numbers in Scotland
An article in today’s TESS (4 March 2016) highlights a “collapse” in school support staff numbers in Scotland.
Professional Officer (Scotland) Dougie Atkinson told TESS:
“Voice Scotland is becoming concerned at anecdotal evidence that the pressures on education budgets is causing support staff numbers to collapse.
“These vital staff play an important role in ensuring the smooth running of schools. They are the oil that keeps the school machinery running smoothly and it is short sighted and counter-productive to starve schools of that support. It can only contribute to a diminished educational experience for pupils, particularly those with additional support needs – the very children that the Government claims it wants to improve the performance of – and narrow the attainment gap.
“Voice calls on the Government to investigate this trend and put in place measures to ensure Scottish pupils and support staff are not disadvantaged.”