Angry parents call for answers at teachers' exodus from Fife school

Angry parents are demanding answers after a staff shortage has meant some classes haven't had a teacher for a year and a half.

Thursday, 26th April 2018, 6:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th April 2018, 6:45 pm
Councillor Linda Erskine with some of the parents.

The concerns are that the education of Cardenden Primary School pupils is suffering following a number of teachers leaving, with others on longterm absence.

One local councillor said that a temporary teacher in one case left the class after just a few hours.

It has also been claimed that just a few teachers will soon remain from those who were there five years ago, and in one case a member of the clerical support staff was left to look after a class.

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Parent Kirsty White said: “My child hadn’t had a full-time teacher since October. It has been different teachers every day, but it’s only now that they’ve got a teacher after the Easter Holidays.

“Other teachers have left but every class is affected.

“They aren’t being taught. My daughter is in primary three and doesn’t even know the two-times table yet.

“We’ve got no parents’ evening, no insight as to how they’re learning.

“My daughter’s showing signs of being dyslexic, so I wanted a learning support teacher, but she’s unavailable.

“And now a primary one teacher has left, which affects my youngest child.”

At a recent parent council meeting, parents raised concerns, but Kirsty says they were left without answers.

“They weren’t happy. They were told that we can’t address the reasons the teachers were leaving, because it’s personal. It was like a wall just got put up.

“It’s bad. We feel like we’re not being listened to, or taken seriously. We need better communication.

“There are actually people who have taken their kids out of school and moved them to Denend Primary.”

Nikki Chalmers said primary seven pupils had also been without a teacher since last year, and pupils were shown a Disney Pixar film instead of learning.

“It’s been going on for a year and a half. They’ve been watching Inside out and not doing any work. We’re at our wits’ end.

“They’ve just got a teacher a few weeks ago, but the kids leave at the end of June, so it’s not really much good to them.

“I have a son in primary three who is struggling with reading because the class hasn’t been reading since September.

“There are kids there who are struggling, and they’re sitting crying and no one’s helping them.

“They’ve had supply teachers just walk out and leave the kids in the classroom with no teacher.”

“Fair enough, you get teachers leaving, but not as many as have been leaving in the last 18 months.”

Cardenden councillor Linda Erskine said: “The parents have been getting increasingly frustrated. Over the last 18 months it’s just been a series of temporary teachers. It came to a head when one person only stayed a couple of hours and walked out.

“I’ve asked the education service to do exit interviews, because we need to get to the bottom of what’s causing this.

“The children need consistency, and the parents are concerned. We can’t have that level of unrest. It’s a great wee community, it was a great wee school, and it should still be.

“I’ve written to the council chief executive, both political leaders, and the education department asking for this to be addressed.”

Directorate Operations Team Manager Kevin Funnell said there is a recognised shortage of teachers across Scotland.

He added: “We are working very closely with Cardenden Primary School to address their current staffing challenge.

“The headteacher and staff are working very hard to ensure that the children have continuity in their learning. This includes both the headteacher and depute headteacher teaching classes.”