Save our education budgets

We would request that SBC continue to protect our education budgets in the forthcoming Budget review.

Why the contribution is important

Dear Ms Haslam and colleagues,

We are writing to you to add our voices to the concerns about the Education Budgets in the Scottish Borders and in particular to ask the council to “ring fence” and therefore protect educational budgets and teacher numbers this year.

Our concerns arise from the increasing worries that we have regarding the challenges facing our children in an uncertain world and the risks to the investment that will be made in their education. This is particularly relevant as we know that education is a core predictor of future wealth, health and wellbeing.

 As a nation we have a long journey ahead of us if we are to ensure that our children in Scotland have the best education and positive destinations after leaving school.

The Pisa figures published in 2016 recognised the scale of the challenge:

“Scotland's schools have recorded their worst ever performance in an international survey of pupils. Scotland's scores for maths, reading and science all declined in the latest set of Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) figures.

·   It was the first time since the tests began in 2000 that all three subject areas were classed as "average", with none "above average".

·   Education Secretary John Swinney said the results made uncomfortable reading.

·   He said they showed that "radical reform" was needed if Scotland's education system was to become world-class again” (BBC, 2016).

The Scottish Government have published a number of documents with the aim of improving this for all children (GIRFEC) and specifically for the poorest in our society (Bridging the Attainment Gap) in response to these findings: 

"The Scottish Government’s 2017 consultation ‘Empowering Schools: A consultation on the provisions of the Education (Scotland) Bill’ set out clear aims and objectives in relation to the forthcoming Education Bill: improving the education and life chances of our children and young people, closing the unacceptable gap in attainment between the least and most disadvantaged children and raising attainment for all.”

Furthermore, there was particular focus on the most vulnerable of our children, specifically regarding additional support for learning:

Delivering for today, investing for tomorrow: the Government's programme for Scotland 2018-2019

We want all children and young people to get the support they need to reach their full learning potential and we have listened to the experiences of children and families about getting that support. We will take action to secure more positive experiences for those receiving support. We will work with local government towards:

 

·         improving consistency of support across Scotland, through improved guidance

·         Building further capacity to deliver effective additional support

·    Improving career pathways and professional development, including new free training resources for school staff on inclusive practices”.

However it is very interesting that SBC, having ring fenced budgets in recent times, are in the top quartile nationally for positive destinations on leaving school. This is well above the Scottish average, with an increase to 95.3% of pupils achieving a positive and sustained destination compared to 94.2% last year.

This may be due to some improving exam results: 

“There has been an increase of 1.5% in the number of our young people achieving five National 5s.  Overall, there has been a strong performance at National 5 by S5 pupils with 89% of young people gaining an award compared to 86% in 2017. There has also been an increase of 1.5% in the number of S6 pupils leaving with five Highers or more.”  (SBC press release, Tuesday 7th August 2018).

This evidence therefore supports the decision to continue investing in education as any cuts to education will put all of this progress at risk.

We, of course, recognise that the high level of education that our children receive in the Scottish Borders is in no small measure due to our dedicated teaching staff and, given the workforce planning crisis in Scotland i.e.: teachers leaving the profession, teacher shortages for Maths and other areas, industrial action looming, we believe that authorities can make a big difference to these professionals by investing in them and their schools. Certainly budget cuts will in no way reverse this trend. 

Therefore, in conclusion, we ask that the SBC Education Budget for our schools be protected from cuts and that this uncertainty is removed from educators in order that our children have the best possible chance of being positive contributors (and tax payers!) to our communities in the years to come.

Yours faithfully,

Peebles High School Parent Council

by PHSParentCouncil on January 27, 2019 at 05:47PM

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Comments

  • Posted by rachelb January 27, 2019 at 21:34

    It would be very short-sighted of SBC to do anything to reduce our education budget in an increasingly challenging job market and competitive world. Invest in the future, it will pay dividends in the long run.
  • Posted by CraigernePeebles January 28, 2019 at 09:51

    Funding education means funding the future of the Borders. Our children deserve the best start in life, and schools have already had budgets cut significantly. Let's not make it worse.
  • Posted by AHilton12 January 28, 2019 at 10:06

    Our children and teachers are our future and need to be valued as such.
    It would be irresponsible to cut education budgets without recognising that this would have a detrimental effect.
    Save the education budget.
  • Posted by caringgrannie January 28, 2019 at 10:06

    I believe that we all understand about monetary constraints, however, cutting school budgets is a short-term measure with incalculable long-term effects – for the whole country, not just the current pupils.
  • Posted by Glentress1 January 28, 2019 at 11:14

    Any further erosion of school budgets would have a serious impact on the quality of education that our children will receive. Our teachers work incredibly hard with very limited budgets, resources within schools are heavily subsidised by Parent Fundraising - creating huge inequality where some schools may have limited capacity for this type of parental support. No further cuts please.
  • Posted by ParentSupport January 28, 2019 at 12:23

    Cutting school budgets can only damage the longer term opportunities of our children, at a time when things are proving more challenging already when they leave education. Further cuts cannot be accepted and politicians / counsellors need to look elsewhere.
  • Posted by manerlodge January 28, 2019 at 13:37

    Save the schools budget. Cutting them will damage the future prospects of our children, at a time when they face increasing challengse on leaving school. We need to to invest in the next generation. The council therefore needs to look to other less detrimental areas of concern to make budget cuts.
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  • Posted by Savvyhorse January 28, 2019 at 13:57

    Schools are a fundamental part of our community. To not safeguard funding would be short sighted and send a message that our teachers and support staff are not valued.
  • Posted by Pebbles January 28, 2019 at 20:36

    The Schools need the proper funding to enable our young people to get the best out of the education system. The Council should be thinking about increasing the budget not decreasing same.
  • Posted by simple January 29, 2019 at 09:44

    it is surely a no-brainer to protect and enhance the future for children and their education. any cut or lack of safeguard should, like an argument for nuclear war, be seen as an inhuman act as well as devastatingly stupid
  • Posted by gillyb January 29, 2019 at 10:21

    Surely no one can conceivably think that cutting the education budget is an option. We need to do all we can to give our children the best education. Cuts in suppport staff are already having a massive impact on children's learning. Increasing the budget is the only option.
  • Posted by AMR January 29, 2019 at 12:02

    The standard of education in Scotland is falling in comparison with the rest of the world, Curriculum for Excellence is completely failing to narrow the attainment gap and only allowing six subjects to be taken at N5 is decimating the non-core subjects.
    When we had our kids, we were in the South of England and one of the main reasons that we came home was to give them a good Scottish education. Sadly, it hasn’t turned out to be the broad education that we’d expected.
    Cutting Education budgets will further erode our historically impressive standards of education and in particular teaching. Do NOT do this. These students are our future workers, leaders and tax payers. We need them to succeed.
  • Posted by ianc January 29, 2019 at 14:34

    Protecting the education budget must surely be SBC top priority, to not do so is selling out the future of the pupils & the Scottish Borders. Scotland's historic standing in the world was based first & foremost on education, we've slipped a long way since the enlightenment, let's not slip even further back.
  • Posted by SMcD January 29, 2019 at 20:14

    Education is the most powerful weapon we use to change the world. -Nelson Mandela
  • Posted by juliepirone January 31, 2019 at 14:54

    Education budgets should not be cut. It is short sighted. Our children deserve a good and solid education. Children in the borders will not forgive us if we do not provide it. They already leave to find work once leaving school. if we are to attract them back, especially once they have families is to ensure the education system is the best it possibly can be. Cutting now will not achieve that. Nor will it ensure we have the workers and leaders in the future, which is more crucial in a rural area.
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