Fife secondary school teachers braced for budget cuts, job losses

Secondary school teachers in Fife are braced for major cuts in the classrooms.

Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 2:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 3:12 pm
Balwearie High School, Kirkcaldy - one of the schools set to be hit the hardest

Staff at 18 schools were briefed on Monday about the savings Fife Council is looking for in the coming financial year.

A total of £1.28m has been cut from the secondary schools budget, and the formal talks between the local authority and trade unions is now underway.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) fears the cost-cutting will lead to up to 25 promoted posts being axed as each headteacher prepares a plan to meet targets they have been given.

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While some schools won’t be affected, several may have to find up to £250,000 of savings.

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Kirkcaldy school facing '˜significant changes' in year ahead due to budget cuts

The four schools hardest hit include Balwearie High in Kirkcaldy, Madras College, Inverkeithing High and Bell Baxter in Cupar.

Fife EIS said the cuts would impact on workload, future promotion and staff development.

In a statement, the union hit out: “The workload associated with these posts will most definitely not disappear meaning that the workload of staff still in posts will increase.

“We also worry about the continuing viability of certain subjects and courses in Fife secondary schools. Obviously this might well impact on choice for students and for certain students impede their ability to achieve in areas where they are gifted.

“As well as all of this there is the detrimental effect which this will have on staff who are directly involved. This is not a morale or confidence builder.

It welcomed the education service’s commitment to continue negotiating, but it warned: “in another Scottish local authority a not dissimilar re-structuring proposal produced a ballot amongst EIS members for industrial action. The ballot was successful, strike action did result and the original proposal was withdrawn.”

Fife Council said its focus remained on providing “the best possible outcomes” for pupils.

Shelagh McLean, head of education and children’s services, said: “Our headteachers had informal discussions prior to the summer break with their staff about individual proposals on how their schools might manage within the budget expected from 2018.

“They have developed further proposals for their schools which they will now formally present to staff for full consultation.”

Fife MSP Alex Rowley raised the issue at the Scottish Parliament describing the level of cuts in budgets to Fife secondary schools as unacceptable and requesting the Deputy First Minister examine them and work with Fife Council to find an alternative way forward.

A petition opposing the cuts launched by parents with children at Balwearie has won huge support.

It attracted over 1100 signatures within two weeks

attracted 900 signatures in just two weeks.