Budget cuts may threaten Ediburgh’s schools

Edinburgh News has reported that the city council is considering making cuts to school budgets in order to save money for next year

City council chiefs in Edinburgh are to consider making large cuts across education as part of an effort to balance next year’s budget.

This could mean that head teachers’ budgets are reduced by up to three per cent, which may lead to less classroom assistants. This goes against an earlier promise to increase the number.

School budgets may be cut alongside those for music tuition and libraries, as the council needs to make savings of £28m from the 2019/20 budget in order to cope with financial pressures.

Finance convener, Alasdair Rankin, has emphasised that the potential cuts had been drawn up by council officers and, so far, had not been endorsed by the administration.

He said: “We face curtailed budgets and rising demand. There will inevitably be hard decisions we have to make.”

The cut would affect primary, secondary and special schools and could create £6m in savings over four years.

The council briefing document on the proposal says: “Within clear guidelines, headteachers would determine how best to implement the reduction within their own establishment.

“Headteachers can choose to make savings through general efficiencies, carefully targeted staffing reductions, either teaching or classroom assistants, or their own business support costs.”

But it also admits: “At the three per cent savings target smaller schools may not be able to maintain government-set teacher pupil ratios.”

Green finance spokesman Gavin Corbett said the proposals looked like “the same old death by a thousand cuts”.

He said: “What is needed is real recognition from Scottish Government that councils should be able to fund services properly. At the same time, the council needs to be more imaginative about ways of delivery.”

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