Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 16:53 UK

Teaching union backs ballot call

Pupils in a classroom
Teachers voted for a ballot on industrial action over budget cuts

Scotland's largest teaching union has voted for a ballot on industrial action over claims of multi-million pound cuts to education budgets.

Members of the EIS said schools were facing cuts in the number of teachers and classroom assistants, as well as in resources such as books and jotters.

Earlier, the union voted not to boycott the introduction of the new Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) in schools.

At its annual conference, members voted to campaign for improvements.

BBC Scotland's education correspondent Seonag Mackinnon said information obtained under freedom of information legislation indicated that local authority education budgets were being cut by just under £60m.

She said: "In Glasgow, it accounted for £9m but even the comparatively small East Ayrshire faced £4m of cutbacks.

"It is expected hundreds of jobs for teachers and classroom assistants will go.

"As many staff are coming up for retirement, compulsory redundancies are unlikely but new teachers will find it even harder to find work.

"As it stands only four in 10 are securing permanent jobs."

Commenting on the Curriculum for Excellence motion, an EIS spokesman said: "The motion passed today re-affirms EIS support for the principles of the Curriculum for Excellence, but recognises that there is a great deal of work to be done if CfE is to deliver on its promise.

"The EIS will continue to engage with both the Scottish Government and local authorities to ensure that schools and teachers receive the funding, resources, development time and training required to allow CfE to be delivered successfully."

'Warmly welcomed'

A Scottish Government spokeswoman welcomed the EIS support for the Curriculum for Excellence.

She said: "Significant resources are being put in place to make Curriculum for Excellence real in classrooms.

"The Scottish Government has put in place an additional implementation year; has provided £4m for 100 teachers to support implementation, has brought in three extra in-service days to support implementation, which was warmly welcomed by the EIS education convenor, and produced exemplar material for teachers."

Before the vote on budget cuts, union leaders questioned government claims that budgets had increased by 43% since devolution, asking where the money had gone.

EIS Education convenor Larry Flannigan told BBC Scotland: "Teachers can only judge on the basis of the amount of money available to them in the classroom.

"Our evidence is quite clear that the per capita spending in schools has been decreasing rapidly over the last few years.

"So if there's an increased spending we would like to know where the money's actually going because it's not hitting the classrooms and it's not supporting teaching and learning in the classrooms."

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