Parents at a Glasgow primary school are being warned that council cuts to teacher numbers will have a “profound effect” and will “significantly compromise” the support available to pupils, The Herald can reveal.

Yesterday, The Herald exclusively reported that cuts to teacher numbers in the city have already begun, with teachers and parents warning that schools are facing a ‘state of emergency’ as a result.

Members of the EIS teaching union, the Glasgow City Parents Group, and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes Scotland (AHDS), have raised serious concerns about issues including falling attainment, worsening mental health, increased exclusions and reduced pupil safety.

Glasgow City Council responded by criticising “alarmist and inaccurate information about learning and teaching in the city” and insisted that “schools will keep their families reassured and informed.”

However, The Herald has seen communication sent out to parents and carers at a Glasgow primary school - which we have decided not to identify - highlighting the seriousness of the situation now facing the city. The information comes from the school’s parent council.

The message states that the school expects to lose 1.4 full time equivalent teachers for the next academic year, with further reductions also possible in subsequent years.

As a direct consequence of this cut, the school’s two depute headteachers will have to be redeployed to spend the majority of their time teaching classes, which will “significantly compromise their ability to support pupils, teachers and parents/carers.”

The communication goes on to detail specific “losses”, including:

  • 1 to 1 support for children with additional support needs

  • Pupils assessments (including dyslexia and autism)

  • Attendance at meetings to access additional support for pupils

  • Parents meetings

  • Management time to organise events, clubs, and residential trips

It also advises that other impacts of staffing cuts include placing requests being “significantly curtailed” and a reduction in pupil break times.

The effects outlined to parents echo warnings from headteachers in Glasgow.

The Association of Headteacher and Deputes Scotland (AHDS), which represents nearly 90% of primary school leaders in Glasgow, recently surveyed its members in the city, asking about the potential impact of the council’s proposed cuts.

The ‘main impacts’ of reduced teacher numbers included lower attainment levels, less time for children who need individual support, an increase in school exclusions, reduced support for and engagement with families, decreased capacity for school improvement activities, and potential safety issues for both pupils and staff.

Greg Dempster, General Secretary of the AHDS, told The Herald that the council has “voted through a massive cut to education budgets which was hidden as ‘service redesign’ rather than in the education section of the budget.”

“Reducing teacher numbers is not service redesign, it is a high-impact cut to what can be offered to pupils.

“The impact of the planned cuts to teacher numbers in the coming year will be to seriously curtail the ability of schools to support their most vulnerable learners and operate safely.  The further cuts planned for the subsequent two years will have a seismic impact on education in Glasgow. The additional workload which will land on already overstretched school leadership teams cannot be over-stated."

Members of EIS Glasgow have also contacted the city’s elected representatives to outline the impact of the coming cuts to education, which they say will “damage the future prospects of our children and young people for decades to come.” Their letter warns that the council has left “already overworked teachers deeply concerned for the future of their careers and the financial impact on their family if they lose their job,” and that the planned changes to staffing allocations “will inevitably lead to greater teacher burnout and good teachers leaving the profession.”

With incidences of violence and aggression already rising in Scottish schools, EIS Glasgow members argue that “cutting professionals working with our young people can only lead to a further increase in violence and aggression".

They also point out that “Glasgow City Council has a duty of care to its staff and the children and young people who attend its schools, yet it is starkly clear that cutting teacher numbers will put pupils and staff at risk".

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Speculation on the potential effects of budget decisions does not help pupils, parents or teachers.   What may be helpful is to address these points – firstly, as around a third of our pupils identified as having additional support needs, the idea that there is currently one to one support available for them all is not realistic.  Support is provided in a range of ways both in class and from support for learning workers and other professionals.

“It should be understood that there is no change to the Glasgow Dyslexia Support Service and a diagnosis of autism would tend to be done by other agencies.  It is also already the case that there will be occasions when head teachers or their deputies can’t attend meetings due to time and other pressures.

“In terms of clubs, trips and events, schools always need to live within the resources available to them.  The approaches to these issues already vary greatly across the city and - as ever - depend on the goodwill of staff.”