Poll shows 7 out of 10 Scots would prefer investment in teaching staff to governance reforms
Education Secretary John Swinney is under fresh pressure to abandon the roll-out of expensive and unwanted regional education boards after an opinion poll commissioned by the Scottish Greens showed 7 out of 10 Scots would prefer investment in teaching staff to governance reforms.
It follows last month's shelving of the government's flagship Education Bill in the face of criticism from teachers, unions, parents and Holyrood’s four opposition parties.
Education Secretary John Swinney plans to enforce changes to the way schools are run without legislation, avoiding votes in parliament which the SNP would lose, with new regional education boards known as "improvement collaboratives" and a new Scottish Education Council already being rolled out.
A Panelbase poll asked 1,000 Scots which is more likely to help improve children and young people’s learning, and of those expressing an opinion, 71 per cent said investment in teaching staff, and 29 per cent said changes to the way schools are run.
Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP said:
"Teachers are overworked and under-resourced. There are 3,500 fewer teachers than there were a decade ago yet the SNP are focussed on putting children as young as five under pressure with new national tests and creating unwanted additional layers of bureaucracy. The public understand that the way to improve children’s chances is to invest in staff and resources.
“Parents and teachers risk being undermined by distant and largely unaccountable regional bodies which provide no added value while sucking up resources badly needed in our classrooms. The real focus should be reversing the damage done by a decade of school budget-cuts by the Scottish Government.
“Since the SNP lost their majority in 2016, all parties have had a chance to act but only the Greens have brought constructive challenge. We’ve forced ministers to shelve over £333 million of planned cuts but we must go further.
“Investing in more teachers and more staff is crucial – in particular to support the one in four young people with additional support needs and those from lower income households. If we're serious about closing the attainment gap and giving every young person the chance to succeed, we need to invest in more staff, not create new structures which aren’t wanted or needed."