Without the resources they need to recruit additional staff, adapt buildings and hire new facilities, councils will be put in an impossible position by a government which increasingly looks like it just want someone else to blameRoss Greer
Councils could be forced to cut jobs and services in other areas to deliver a return to school in August, it has emerged.
At the Scottish Parliament’s COVID-19 committee, chief executive of Highland council Donna Manson told Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer there were “additional costs” associated with reopening schools at 50% attendance in August.
These include additional teachers and support staff, as well as providing additional buildings to accommodate safe distancing measures.
Without being given additional funding or borrowing powers by the Scottish Government, Manson warned that they would face the prospect of cutting jobs in other council services to cover costs.
Responding, Scottish Green education spokesperson Ross Greer said:
“Government ministers are burying their heads in the hand on the challenges of reopening schools. Now we’re hearing first hand of the disastrous cuts which councils will be forced to make in other services, unless the government steps up with the funding required.
"Without the rigorous COVID-19 testing regime Scotland needs to chart and minimise the spread of the virus, we shouldn’t pretend that schools can return to normal safely in August. Issuing vague guidance to councils with no cash to back it up simply isn’t good enough, particularly when the government then criticises councils for proposals they don’t think go far enough.
“Without the resources they need to recruit additional staff, adapt buildings and hire new facilities, councils will be put in an impossible position by a government which increasingly looks like it just want someone else to blame. Ultimately, it will be children, teachers and parents, especially those who are most vulnerable, who lose out if this isn’t sorted quickly."