Pupils in some of the most deprived schools in Angus will lose “additional” teachers as the cash-strapped council battles to balance its books.
Schools in the county’s poorest areas will be hardest hit after councillors unanimously agreed to cut the head count by 25.5 full time equivalent posts – 8.5 of them coming from schools in deprived areas.
Councillors agreed to the reduction ahead of a full budget meeting in Forfar’s Town and County Hall on Thursday.
The council hopes the cuts will save the authority £1,056,000 by 2023/24 as it moves to close a £16.4 million budget shortfall in 2020/21.
Council papers state there are 586 primary teachers in the county and it is understood some of the post have already been removed.
Mike Callaghan, Angus Local Association Secretary for trade union the EIS, spoke out against the cuts before councillors approved the move.
He spoke to The Courier afterwards and said he had chosen to “remain silent on this up to this point.”
“But I am elected by 800 teachers in Angus so I can’t stay silent for ever.
“I don’t know what the solution is. The budget is constrained and that is not through the choice of Angus Council.”
He said they were not losing teachers but reducing the capacity of the service but that would impact on those who remained.
“It will make it more difficult for new teachers coming in to find a job,” he said.
“There isn’t somebody sitting in a school looking after the most deprived that will lose their job, it is the capacity that is being reduced.
“What I know is this will increase pressure on the staff who are remaining. We have been seeing an increase in work-related stress and absence in teachers.”
More than eight full time equivalent posts will be taken from schools where there are issues with poverty, including Hayshead, Warddykes, St Thomas, Ladyloan, Muirfield, Strathmore, Andover, Southesk and Southmuir.
The mandatory pupil to teacher ratio across the county will still be met after the changes.
The number of specialist teachers will also fall from 18 to 8 “through time”.
Council officials argue the affected teaching posts are “additional” as they are above and above the council’s statutory provision.
The paper proposing the change stated: “The savings have been met by a planned approach to changes in teacher workforce over a number of years.
“This will be closely monitored in line with national planning and the impact of any national conditions in relation to the funding of schools.”