Axing registration in Falkirk Council schools is ‘efficiency’ saving

Protesters outside the budget meeting
Protesters outside the budget meeting

Falkirk Council says secondary school’s losing their registration time will not have any impact on pupils and their pastoral care.

Fears had been raised by teachers that the registration period provided valuable contact time with pupils with one teacher who had time to notice problems.

Comments on The Falkirk Herald’s Facebook page demonstrated that parents were concerned by what the change would mean.

Although not all schools have a registration period in the morning, all form classes will be affected by the change.

Mhairi MacRaild commented on Facebook: “Pastoral care isn’t just about young people approaching an adult for help it’s about adults recognising a young person is having difficulties and working out how best to support them.”

But others were supportive of the change, with many regarding the registration class as a waste of time as absences are already recorded in each class.

Asked to provide more information to set parents’ minds at rest, a spokesman for Falkirk Council said: “Registration will continue to be taken on a period by period basis but schools with a 10 minute registration period at the start of the school day will stop.

“Pastoral staff are not affected by this change and will continue to engage with pupils. Schools will continue to encourage staff to be vigilant and report any concerns.

“Pastoral staff will monitor and track absence and respond to any emerging issues on a pupil by pupil basis.”

After the budget meeting, the council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said the SNP Group had looked for efficiencies within services rather than cuts.

She said: “The Council of the Future program delivered £5 million of savings last year for an investment of £700,000 – these we found in areas not previously looked for.

“An example of this would be within Education, where registration is effectively taken in every class, to put the dedicated the registration time at the start of the pupil day to better use.”