Home   News   Article

Future of classroom assistants finally confirmed

By Andrew Dixon

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Merv Riley - celebration in advance of jobs decision
Merv Riley - celebration in advance of jobs decision

CONFIRMATION classroom assistant posts are safeguarded for another year has arrived.

Two weeks ago The Inverness Courier revealed the cost of keeping the 344 assistants will be met by the council’s £750,000 share of £15 million extra Scottish Government funding announced in March, plus a £110,000 combined grant from ward discretionary budgets.

It means no changes will be made before the new school year starts in August after the move was approved by full council.

Millbank Primary’s Merv Riley was overjoyed to hear money had been found to protect the jobs, which have been under threat since February as part of cuts by Highland Council.

“A teacher came into the school with three cakes and two boxes of chocolates, which normally happens for someone’s birthday, but this was to congratulate us on staying for another year,” said Mr Riley, a Unison steward and classroom assistant at the Nairn primary.

“We are absolutely delighted that things are going forward. I’d like to thank the public for the support they have given us. I think it has made a difference and the response has been absolutely fantastic.”

He is positive about the future, despite the council planning to continue its review by looking at the roles of classroom assistants, learning support assistants and children’s service workers.

Original plans to axe all 344 classroom assistants and save £1.5 million caused an outcry when they were unveiled by the Independent/Lib-Dem/Labour administration as part of cost-cutting measures.

An 11th hour U-turn saw a cross-party working group set up to look at the roles. It received feedback from 65 parent councils, 29 parents and 37 teachers during its consultation period which ended last month.

SNP group leader Councillor Drew Hendry welcomed the proposals to scrap the budget saving for this year, but argued to push the decision beyond yet another council election next year was unfair to children, teachers, parents and communities.

* More in Friday's Courier.

Related article:

Classroom assistants' jobs safe for now

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More