Local MSP Jackie Baillie has hit out at plans to slash teacher numbers in Helensburgh and Lomond after her Freedom of Information request revealed the true extent of cuts in local primary schools. Helensburgh and Lomond will actually see a net decrease in teacher numbers despite rising school rolls and promises from the Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council that numbers would be maintained.

According to the figures provided by Argyll and Bute Council, Helensburgh and Lomond schools will lose the equivalent of almost five full-time teachers after the summer holidays. Primary schools in Kilcreggan, Rosneath and Garelochhead will lose at least one full-time teacher each alongside St Joseph’s Primary in Helensburgh.

Cardross Primary and John Logie Baird Primary will each gain the equivalent of a third of a full-time post and there will be no changes at Arrochar, Colgrain, Hermitage and Rhu Primaries. At Luss Primary there will be a decrease equivalent to 25% of a full-time post.

Jackie Baillie requested the figures for Helensburgh and Lomond schools after parents raised concerns about proposals to cut the number of teachers from five to four at Kilcreggan Primary.

The news broke only a few months after the Scottish Government announced that it had reached an agreement with every local authority in Scotland to maintain teacher numbers. Jackie has arranged a meeting with the SNP’s Education Secretary, Angela Constance, and will invite a delegation of local parents concerned about the increase in the number of composite classes involving three different year groups and the potential impact on the quality of education.

Jackie said:

“These figures show that Helensburgh and Lomond will lose the equivalent of almost five full-time teachers when children return to school after the summer holidays. The cuts will disproportionately affect smaller schools where there are already fewer teachers. That means more pupils will be taught in composite classes with a wider range of abilities and age groups.

“Local families are very concerned about the potential impact on their children’s education. It is difficult to understand the logic behind cutting teacher numbers in schools where the number of pupils will actually increase next year.

“Argyll and Bute Council has said that it will maintain teacher numbers across the region. That can only mean that teacher numbers will go up in other areas in Argyll and Bute while they are decreasing in Helensburgh and Lomond. I will make no apologies for putting local families first and opposing these cuts. 

“If the Scottish Government is serious about protecting teacher numbers then it must work with Argyll and Bute Council to stop teacher cuts at schools across Helensburgh and Lomond.  The current policy clearly isn’t working and I’m pleased that the Education Secretary Angela Constance has agreed to meet with me to discuss ways to keep teachers in our local schools

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