Teacher workload to rise as support staff axed

An analysis of official figures in this week’s TESS lays bare the true extent of cuts to support staff in Scottish schools

Thousands of non-teaching staff face losing their jobs in the wake of the 2016-17 budget deal from Scottish government councils warned MSPs this week. The deal will leave local authorities £350 million worse off this year, councils said.

But our analysis shows that many posts have already disappeared, with the number of support staff in Scottish schools dropping by nearly 10 per cent between 2010 and 2015 (from 19,332 to 17,498).

School administrators, behaviour support staff, technicians, librarians and those who are assisting children with additional support needs (ASN) have all been hit.

The number of behaviour support staff working in Scottish schools dropped by more than a third; library staff and office managers by over a quarter; and administrators and additional support needs staff by about 10 per cent.

The number of school support staff employed at council level – from quality improvement officers to music instructors – has also been slashed, with the total employed across Scotland’s 32 councils dropping by 20 per cent between 2010 and 2014 (figures for 2015 have yet to be published).

Mike Kirby, Scottish secretary of the union Unison, which represents support staff, said cutting support staff posts “denies pupils specialist help and adds more work on to teachers, preventing them from doing the job they do best”.

This is an edited article from the 26 February edition of TESS. Subscribers can read the full article here. This week’s TESS magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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