Parents, teachers and trade unions have held another protest as they step up their opposition to education cuts in Glasgow.

Campaigners gathered outside Langside Halls, in the constituency of SNP council leader Susan Aitken, to demand that reductions in teacher numbers are abandoned and threats to additional programmes are lifted. An earlier protest was held in Govan, the constituency of the council’s finance convener Ricky Bell.

The Herald has previously revealed that cuts to teacher numbers have already begun in Glasgow’s primary schools, with parents also warned of the 'profound effect' the changes would have on education. In total, the city faces the loss of up to 450 teachers over three years, with schemes like the MCR Pathways mentoring programme also at risk.

A Labour motion opposing the cuts and calling on the Scottish Government to provide more funding is due to be considered during this week’s full council session. Parents involved in the campaign will also be in attendance.

Leanne McGuire, chair of the Glasgow City Parents Group, told The Herald that they are grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign, but remain “deeply concerned that many families are still unaware of the severe impact these proposed cuts will have on our children.”

She continued: “This is why holding protests like today's is crucial.

“Demonstrations provide a platform for parents to publicly express their concerns and demonstrate to GCC that these worries extend beyond our group and unions—families are deeply worried too.

“With only six weeks left until the end of term, many school staff and teachers remain uncertain about their employment in August, leaving many parents and carers unaware of the full implications of these decisions.”

Dr Emma Bolger, Parent Council co-chair at Govan Gaelic Primary School, raised concerns about the consequences for remaining staff and the pupils in schools.

She said: "I'm concerned about the impact on staff well-being, which is already being felt due to current uncertainty, and the knock-on effects on pupils. With employees already working at capacity, and additional pressure likely to be put on SLT to cover absences in future, this can only increase further. I fear more disruption to our pupils' education, which has already been disrupted multiple times in recent years." 

Another parent, Natalie Blue, highlighted the potential impact of teacher cuts on children with additional support needs, saying: “Additional support needs children are not only entitled to an education but a quality education equivalent to the rest of our children, and I can’t see how this will possibly work with cuts to the education budget.

"I also want to add that I'm just one of a few thousand parents in Scotland whose child or children don’t attend school due to current barriers – by Glasgow removing what’s already in place, it will only lead to an increase in ASN children not attending school and being excluded by default.

“At the same time, children will continue being traumatised by an unsuitable environment and will be in schools with fewer staff members on hand which in turn will lead to even more exclusions.”

The Herald:

Responding to the protests, a Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “Officers will continue to support our headteachers and their schools during this time.

“At every stage we will do everything we can to minimise any impact to schools but in the current financial climate the council must look at every option.

“Officers are looking at several savings as part of a budget that required £108m of savings from council services over the next three years, not including social care. 

“We know that this will be a worrying time for everyone - for many years education spending has been prioritised, relative to other services, in the budget process.

“However, with the education budget now amounting to more than half of service expenditure directed by the council, it is significantly more challenging to protect education when substantial savings are needed.”