Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Saturday, 6 March 2010

Teachers in Glasgow rally over budget cuts

Protest march
Teachers have complained of a lack of resources and planned cuts

Thousands of teachers, parents and lecturers from across Scotland have been marching in Glasgow in a protest against cuts to education budgets.

The march and rally was organised by teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS).

Its members are angry at proposed job losses, school closures and reductions in resources.

The Scottish government said the cuts had come from Westminster and it was up to councils to decide their budgets.

The EIS has begun a campaign entitled "Why must our children pay?"

Union bosses said pupils and students should not be faced with cutbacks in order to pay for "the bail-out of failed financial institutions".

Seonag Mackinnon
Seonag Mackinnon
BBC Scotland education correspondent

For the most part ministers see attacks from other politicians as just so much noise.

But for them it's an entirely different thing to see sleeping lions begin to wake and roar.

Spending cuts in classrooms have roused parents who don't normally take to the streets.

And leaders of the EIS teaching union, who in recent years have had a close, professional relationship with successive education ministers, have called the first national protest march they've called in 14 years.

A non-political body, the Association of Directors of Education, indicates schools are facing the most severe cuts in 30 years.

Staff maintain areas of education seen as a soft touch may be hit hardest. Classroom assistants - not as strongly unionised as teachers - may see job losses. School trips and music tuition may go or come at a price.

It's claimed by some cynical observers that the many expensive education bureaucracies are unlikely to be first in line for cuts.

EIS president Helen Connor told marchers that the demonstration was only the beginning.

She said: "Now, we must build on this strong support today and build a long-term campaign to defend Scottish education and to protect the level of funding invested in our schools, colleges and universities.

"Our young people are worth that investment, and the future prosperity of our country depends on these very same young people.

"By cutting back funding now, by seeking the cheap option to their education, the government will damage not only our children's futures but the future of our entire country. We simply cannot allow that to happen."

She also criticised the Scottish government's record, saying there were 2,500 fewer teachers than when the SNP came to power.

The union's general secretary, Ronnie Smith, added: "Our schools, colleges and universities perform very well and offer a high-quality education to children and young people of all backgrounds and from all parts of the country.

"They do so without big bail-outs or bonuses, with teams of highly skilled and dedicated staff who are motivated not by the size of their pay packet but by the genuine desire to provide the best opportunity for our young people.

"Money allocated to education is not a cost, but an investment in our children and in the future prosperity of our entire country."

John Stodter, from the umbrella group Directors of Education in Scotland, said: "Education authorities are making significant reductions this year and they anticipate a really bad time over the next five years.

"We are looking at cuts that could be the worst in the 30 years that I have been involved in education."

Education secretary Mike Russell called on anyone with an interest in education to unite against "Westminster cuts".

He said: "So far, education has been protected by the SNP government with councils reporting planned increases of 2.6% this year.

"That has delivered record levels of spending per pupil - at levels significantly higher than south of the border - but this will be under real threat if the Westminster parties get their way and impose 'savage cuts' on Scotland."

Print Sponsor

Biggest squeeze since devolution
25 Feb 10 |  Scotland
Schools face 'very real threat'
19 Feb 10 |  Scotland
Teacher cutbacks 'short-sighted'
28 Dec 09 |  Scotland
Teachers say 'show us the money'
04 Jun 09 |  Scotland
Report on Scottish education
16 Jan 09 |  Scotland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific