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Head teacher steps in to fill additional support needs gap at Inverness primary due to Highland Council education budget cuts

By Val Sweeney

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CONCERNS have been raised after it emerged a head teacher at an Inverness school has had to step in to help support pupils with additional needs due to budget cuts.

Lawrence Sutherland, head of Cradlehall Primary School, is undertaking such duties along with two other staff members as there is no budget available to provide cover for an additional support needs (ASN) teacher on long-term sick leave.

A newsletter to parents states each of them have their own remits to fulfil.

“We endeavour to maintain appropriate levels of ASN support to children and to parents and would ask you to please bear with us during this latest challenge in providing the quality of service that the school community has come to expect in relation to ASN,” it states.

Inverness South councillor Ken Gowans fears similar situations arising after Highland Council axed 63 full-time equivalent ASN posts and pupil support assistants.

“If the council is making cuts, we need to question if contingency plans are in place to deal with normal events such as people going off sick,” he said.

A council spokeswoman said: “Individual schools have always had to manage any such staffing issues as there is no pool of relief staff for ASN teachers within existing resources.”

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