Parents petition education cuts in Fife

Teachers' union EIS claims the savings will lead to increased class sizes and more stress for workers. Posed picture by Cate Gillon.
Teachers' union EIS claims the savings will lead to increased class sizes and more stress for workers. Posed picture by Cate Gillon.

A petition calling on Fife Council Leader David Ross to reverse a £3 million ‘cut’ to education has been launched by an angry parent in Kirkcaldy.

The petition, which gained almost 200 signatures over the weekend, says it wants Fife Council to reverse the decision “as we believe this will have an adverse impact on the children and teaching staff in Fife” due to larger class sizes and increased workload for teachers.

Lisa McCormack, who started the petition, added: “I just want someone to put a stop to this craziness and I wanted to help. If this goes ahead, it’s just going to be a disaster.”

Fife Council announced last month it would save £3m in the education budget by reducing current vacancies – around 120 staff – by “redistributing existing staff”.

The decision infuriated teachers’ union EIS which claimed the move would impact mostly on primary teachers and secondary maths and English teachers.

“And the effect of that will be, of course, that there will be fewer classes,” said David Farmer, EIS publicity officer.

He added: “The council claims this will bring some stability and continuity for staff, pupils and school managers but that is something EIS will dispute because we believe what will happen is that the posts of those teachers, that will be to use the council’s words ‘redistributed,’ will not be filled.”

While acknowledging some classes would rise by four or five children, David Ross said a national shortage of teachers meant 2500 children across Fife were being taught by supply teachers.

“That is not a good situation,” he said.

“last year we spent £3.4 million employing supply teachers so if we can redistribute as many as we can, not only do we give children a permanent teacher, we also reduce our supply teacher bill.

“For me it’s a no brainer.”

He also strongly denied he would leave posts unfilled.

“I’ve always said: if you can get me the teachers, I’ll put them in the classes,” he vowed.