Crisis in Falkirk classrooms grows deeper

Falkirk Council are looking at ways of saving money in schools
Falkirk Council are looking at ways of saving money in schools
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The crisis facing classrooms appeared to deepen this week as Falkirk Council was dealt a double financial blow.

It looks as if the local authority will be forced to drop the option of reducing the amount of time primary pupils are in school – and it has also lost out on much-needed cash to boost classroom attainment.

Earlier this month Falkirk Council revealed it was considering cutting the time youngsters in P1-P7 are in class from 25 to 22.5 hours.

Councillor Craig Martin, council leader, stressed it was “a last resort” and only pencilled into the budget plans for 2016/17.

Figures showed it would allow the local authority to cut 54 teaching posts and save £1.91 million.

The ruling Labour-led administration had been hopeful cash could be found to plug the gap in education
funding.

It was pinning its hopes on getting a share of the £100 million Attainment Scotland Fund set up by the Scottish Government to help local authorities with high concentrations of pupils living in deprived areas.

But the announcement of the first £20 million dispersal saw Falkirk omitted.

Although this appeared to enforce the need to save cash, The Falkirk Herald understands that if it was to cut teacher numbers, the council could face a financial penalty and the proposal is likely to be
dropped.

Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney has told councils if they don’t maintain teacher numbers funding will be cut.