UNISON does not believe that the proposals contained in the consultation are the best way to tackle the issues in Scottish education. UNISON is disappointed that the responses to original consultation have been ignored. When responses to a plan are so overwhelmingly negative it is best to take those views on board Instead the Scottish government are moving forward with these much criticized plans. The governments’ own analysis of responses showed widespread opposition to the plans. It may be currently politically popular to ignore experts but it is not the way to develop good public policy. Key problems in Scottish education are budget cuts, a teacher shortage and loss of support staff. Pupil Equity Fund finding can’t hide those cuts. The government should focus on tackling the real problems: funding cuts, poverty and inequality rather than restructuring. What is needed is more funding in education and wider local government services which support children and families.
As things stand there is no spare capacity in schools, all staff are working long hours. There is no time for reflection far less personal development and collaborative exchange. Distancing schools from wider children’s services will also make it harder to deliver wider support for children and/or their parents. This will make it harder to provide the support many children need to benefit from the education services offered in their school
UNISON believes that education, including early years and childcare, should be both comprehensive and delivered free at the point of use by local authorities. Delivery via local authorities offers democratic local accountability and efficiency through economies of scale. It also ensures that education services are embedded in wider children’s services.