Local MSP Fiona Hyslop Welcomes New Measures to Safeguard Education

Fiona Hyslop MSP for the Linlithgow Constituency has welcomed new measures to ensure that teacher and pupil support staff numbers as well as school hours are protected, as announced in Parliament today (Tues 7th Feb) by Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.

Since 2017/18 local authorities have received funding to protect the pupil-teacher ratio, teacher numbers and to provide places for all probationers who need one. Additional annual funding of £145.5 million is also being provided to maintain increased teacher numbers and support staff in the year ahead (2023/24). If this is not delivered by a local authority, the Scottish Government will withhold or recoup funding allocated for these purposes.

Fiona commented,

“I welcome the statement to Parliament today from the Education Secretary which outline the Scottish Government’s commitment to closing the attainment gap and ensuring that children at school is Scotland have proper access to teaching and support staff.

“My Constituency in West Lothian is the largest in Scotland by population and is growing rapidly. I am pleased that the Scottish Government has reiterated its commitment to increase teacher numbers by 3,500 during this Parliament (2023/24) and that it will withhold or recoup funding allocated to local authorities who do not use Government Funding to achieve this aim.

“This education statement confirms that I was right to raise concerns about the failure to recruit additional teachers with Government money and West Lothian Council’s decision to use this year’s funding to simply back fill existing teaching staff on fixed term contracts by moving them on to permanent contracts instead of recruiting the new additional 100 teachers this funding provided for.

“While ensuring permanent contracts for existing teachers is welcome, the Council agreed to use their £5.256m funding to recruit new additional teachers. I hope that with the measures expressed in today’s statement, that they will comply with the new requirements the Government is setting for this money to be used to at least maintain teacher numbers in the year ahead (2023/24) and ensure minimum school hours are met.  

“While it is clear that there are budgetary pressures on both the Scottish Government and Local Authorities, school pupils across Scotland cannot suffer as a result.”