David May

Scottish Lib Dem Councillor for Montrose Learn more

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The comments I made about an education motion at the Scottish Lib Des Conference

by davidmay on 12 March, 2017

Conference, as a former head teacher and member of our councils education committee I know that Tavish Scott was correct when he has branded efforts by Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) bosses to reduce teacher workloads as a “dossier of failures” as time and time again the proposed solution by them has always been more guidance and more clarification letters We have also had Scottish Government education minister after education minister promising cuts in teacher workload and nothing much has changed.



This lack of effective action has led not only to some superb teachers retiring early but also some first class young teachers leaving teaching altogether. It has also meant that we are having huge problems in attracting people into teaching and a crisis in some Angus schools due to lack of teachers.


I agree as the motion says that we need to work with others to identify further means to cut teacher workloads. However, I suggest that we need to have a time frame for this to be done, and for a shortlife working group to devise the changes and to include ordinary teachers in this.


I massively oppose the re-introduction of the failed Tory systems of national testing and League Tables It did not work previously so why go back to it. I can well remember when I was a ht of the criticisms of teaching to the tests, and I heard stories of how in some schools across Scotland of how the HT and some teachers would point out to pupils, as they sat the tests, that they look at some of their specific answers again. Why was this being done? It was due to the league tables.


Why are the SNP introducing another layer of bureaucracy which will also cost a great deal of money to devise on a proven failed system of national test and league tables.   Teachers already know how pupils are progressing through their regular assessments so national tests are not needed.


Under this Scottish government we have had huge cuts in council funding and this has led to councils having to cut their education budgets with less resources in schools, and the SNP wonder why attainment is falling.


It is absolutely essential that we increase education spending and to reverse the cuts to our colleges as we have lost college places and it is our potential students that have suffered. I am aware that part time college places have faced the biggest hit and for many returners to education this has meant they have no means to acquire the skills they need to get jobs. Furthermore some courses are no longer offered locally and for many they cannot afford to travel to colleges much further away.


Our country needs as highly skilled workforce as possible and the SNP obsession of cuts and centralisation is wrong as we need to invest in our young people.


Thank you



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