A Labour councillor has accused Dundee City Council of “asset stripping a generation’s future” in an impassioned speech against education cuts.
Councillor Charlie Malone addressed the local authority’s children and families services committee after a report showed 16% of pupils did not achieve the expected standard of literacy between 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Meanwhile 20% failed to reach an acceptable standard of numeracy, as set out in the Curriculum for Excellence.
New measures to raise standards are in the pipeline, including introducing faculties meaning principal teachers will be replaced with faculty leaders responsible for a number of subjects.
Mr Malone said: “I wasn’t disappointed by the report – I was horrified.
“The people that will be disappointed are the kids who didn’t get the grades they needed to go to university.
“These measures will increase the workload of teachers.
“We are asset stripping a generation’s future. We are cutting teachers, cutting budgets.
“In the way forward there’s not one mention of investment.”
Councillor Michael Marra, Labour’s education spokesman in Dundee, said he was concerned by the practice of multi-level teaching, where National 4, National 5 and
Higher qualifications are taught in the same class, as well as pupils having to travel to different schools.
He said: “Over the past decade 160 teachers have been cut – that’s 13%. Pupil numbers have remained the same, so it’s not surprising we have these results.
“I’m getting reports of whole areas not being offered some subjects and going to other schools to do them.”
However, council leader John Alexander pointed out that attainment levels for primary school pupils increased in recent years.
He said: “Much of what has been said stems from a passion for education.
“The report sets out a plan to not only address these issues but to raise the bar even higher.
“If you look at 2015-16 you can argue that we’ve improved from that position.
“We must do better and we realise that.”