An issue that receives little attention during council elections is that of education. This despite it being the single largest service and arguably the most important within the council remit. There are some facts associated with schools that are not generally known. Here’s a couple:
1. The last time schools had an above inflation increase in basic per capita funding - ie the amount of money schools receive per child per year to spend on essentials - was 1995! And that increase back then was only because it was the last year of Strathclyde Regional Council. Since then increases were at best in line with inflation but over the last 15 or so years the cuts have got ever deeper. Other “targeted” funding such as the “pupil equity fund” in no way meets that deficit.
2. The staffing ratio of teachers to pupils has been negatively amended two or three times over the last decade or so meaning fewer teachers and bigger class sizes. In Scotland we have statutory maximum class sizes but in the past that’s what they were - maximum. Seldom were class sizes in most school at “maximum”. Nowadays the norm is to have class sizes at maximum number. This despite repeated SNP Scottish government promises to REDUCE class sizes in Scottish schools (and that goes for governments prior to the current one too). These cuts and retrograde moves are a consequence of cut after cut in funding to councils from central government at both Westminster and Holyrood levels. This is a key issue, council cuts need to be opposed and not just in words but in deeds. There needs to be a campaign to pressure both Westminster and Holyrood to refund councils lost monies and to INCREASE funding rather than reduce it. With proper council funding our children would receive a much better education in smaller classes.
Jim McDaid, SLP Candidate Dalry And West Kilbride Ward 4/08/2021
More on Austerity and Cuts
Austerity politics can be summed up in one word - cuts. Cuts in wages, cuts in living standards, cuts in public services. The COVID crisis has demolished the incomes of many over the past year. BUT HERE’s A FACT… To cite just one example, Jeff Bezos, of Amazon fame, INCREASED his wealth by £88 billions this year alone! Imagine if billionaires like him were made to stump up the relative tax level that people like you and me pay? Imagine what that sort of cash could be used for to improve life chances and public services. Wealth concentration in the hands of a few is one of the causes of austerity and cuts and the reason schools are not properly funded, class sizes are big and potholes in the road don’t get fixed.
President NUM - 1982-2002.
Leader Socialist Labour Party.