Glasgow parents set to protest in council leader's ward against 450 teacher cuts

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Parents will protest in council leader Susan Aitken’s ward today (Wednesday 15 May) over planned education cuts, as they say “our children’s future is at stake”.

Glasgow City Parents Group (GCPG) organised a demonstration in city treasurer Ricky Bell’s ward, Govan, last week, and will gather outside Langside Halls today.

They are opposing cuts which could see 450 teaching positions removed over the next three years and also have concerns over the removal of coordinators from the MCR Pathways mentoring scheme in secondary schools.

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The proposed cuts were included in a Glasgow City Council budget passed in February, as the local authority faces a £108 million funding shortfall over three years.

Leanne McGuire, chairperson of GCPG, said: “Our children’s future is at stake, and we cannot afford to stay silent. By coming together, we amplify our voices and demand accountability from those in power.”

A council spokeswoman said officials will support schools to “minimise any impact but in the current financial climate the council must look at every option”.

The protest will take place one day before Labour councillor Jill Pidgeon brings a motion to a meeting of Glasgow’s full council which calls for the Scottish Government to provide more funding.

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Her motion expresses “deep concern” over the reduction in teacher numbers and ongoing review of MCR Pathways, and states teachers play an “indispensable role” in “shaping the future of our children and communities”.

It asks the council to note that “inadequate funding provided by the Scottish Government means that essential services provided by the council are being impacted, with education being hardest hit”.

GCPG hopes the protest will send a message to decision makers about the detrimental impact of the cuts. It is campaigning along the EIS and GMB unions.

Ms McGuire said: “GCPG has been engaging with members of the cross-party political oversight group, and at present, it is still not entirely clear what options the group will be reviewing and how much influence they will have in the overall decision.

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“As part of the work of this group, we have asked to be consulted for our views, but at the moment, we have not had any engagement with the executive director of education about the cuts.

“In recent reports, it has been stated we can engage with the director at GCC education committee, this is not an accurate statement. Yes, we have two members who attend this committee to represent parents’ views; however, there is a full agenda set in advance, and when the education budget was raised previously by other councillors, they were instructed that it was not the forum for such discussion.

“We don’t believe trying to raise discussion points about education cuts as part of a full agenda would create meaningful parental engagement; we would much rather this was given the time and space it deserves.”

The council spokeswoman said: “No one from the GCPG has requested a meeting with the executive director of education about the budget savings.

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“This is despite an open line of communication the group has with the education director via email and in person at committee meetings the reps sit on. He is happy to meet with them.

“As stated in our response last week, the treasurer, the city convener for education and early years, and the city convener for workforce have all met with the GCPG to discuss the budget savings for education.

“The treasurer has also committed to feed back information to the GCPG after each political oversight group meeting. Information on the February budget savings of £108m has been in the public domain since then and have been reported across several platforms and channels.”

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