Greer challenges minister to reverse education budget cuts

The government must acknowledge the damage that budget cuts are having on young people with additional support needs and the school staff who support them a Green MSP will say today.

Speaking in the “Presumption of Mainstreaming” debate at Holyrood, Ross Greer MSP, who has raised the issues faced by young people with additional support needs since his election, will tell John Swinney that the principle of mainstreaming does not automatically result in inclusive education and that the government’s intention to improve students’ experience of inclusive education will only happen it acknowledges the decline in specialist teaching and support staff over the last decade.

Greer, the Scottish Greens’ education spokesperson, said:

“Delivering an inclusive education for all young people is something we can all agree on but for far too long, many young people with additional support needs have not had those needs met and as a result, their experience of education has been far from inclusive.

“Since 2010 annual education spending in Scotland has dropped by about £490 per primary school pupil and £150 less per secondary pupil. Budget cuts have led to over 500 fewer specialist ASN teachers and a loss of one in ten ASN assistants in that same time. At the very same time we are identifying more additional needs amongst pupils, with around one in four pupils now requiring some kind of additional support.

“This has heaped huge additional pressures on existing teachers and support staff, leading to moral issues and a breakdown in sustainable working conditions. Teachers have less time to spend with each pupil, and with the loss of specialist ASN staff the expertise necessary to really help some pupils just isn’t there. What we need from the government is an immediate investment in education to ensure that school can provide an inclusive learning environment for all.”