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Teacher cutbacks hindering progress in education

26 May 2015

Liz Smith MSP

Cutbacks in teacher numbers are hindering progress in education, the Scottish Conservatives said today.

The issue was highlighted in a debate on education in the Scottish Parliament today (26 May).

Recently, the Scottish Government have been heavily criticised for a fall in literacy and numeracy skills and for failing pupils from poorer backgrounds.

The First Minister has also admitted that Scottish education is “not good enough”.

Teacher numbers in Scotland have plummeted by more than 4,000 since the SNP came to power.

Figures show that nearly half of councils cut teachers last year, leading to a rise in pupil-teacher ratios.

In the debate today, Liz Smith said “the cutbacks now mean there are too few teachers to do the professional job required and this is just another reason as to why the system is preventing progress”.

Scottish Conservative young person spokeswoman Liz Smith said:

“With a cutback in teacher numbers it is no surprise that pupil attainment is down.

“At the same time, teachers are frustrated by a Scottish Government which is seeking more and more control over education which, instead of freeing up schools – is constraining them in more and more straightjackets.

“Nicola Sturgeon is clearly very embarrassed by the poor headlines describing her Education Secretary. She knows that the SNP has had eight years to address the problems but it has failed to deliver.

“From weaker standards in reading, writing and arithmetic to the appalling attainment gap which fails so many pupils from poorer backgrounds, she knows that she is in the last chance saloon when it comes to helping our young people secure a brighter future.

“Now it is time for all these issues to be addressed, including the drop in teacher numbers.”

Notes to editors

Link to figures in fall in teacher numbers: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0047/00471917.pdf 

The biggest teaching union in Scotland, EIS said that teachers must not be used as the “scapegoat” for problems in Scotland’s education system: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-32876726