Glasgow protesters demand funding for education as city faces teacher post cuts

Protesters have marched through Glasgow city centre to demand politicians prioritise funding for education following cuts to teaching posts.

Hundreds of teachers, parents, children and trade union members participated in the parade, organised by Glasgow City Parents Group, which finished outside the city chambers.

Up to 450 teaching roles could be cut over the next three years — with 172 removed before the coming school year — after Glasgow City Council passed a budget to plug a £108m funding shortfall.

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Leanne McGuire, chairperson of Glasgow City Parents Group, said: “These cuts will ripple through all schools and year groups. We have 45 primary schools in Glasgow where only the headteacher will not be class-committed.”

She said protesters were demanding solutions from the council and the Scottish Government, and called for politicians to “prioritise education in their budgets and plans”.

“Investing in education is investing in our future,” she added. “Every pound spent on education returns tenfold in the form of a well-prepared, innovative and productive workforce.

“It pulls people out of poverty, reduces their chances of entering the criminal justice system and improves their life outcomes, which in turn reduces the strain on our welfare, social and health sectors.”

Two teacher unions, the EIS and AHDS, voted in favour of strike action in consultative ballots. Susan Quinn, from EIS and a headteacher in the city, said: “EIS in Glasgow has a mandate for industrial action and we will be moving to a statutory ballot at the beginning of September.

“We will take industrial action up to and including strike action if there is no reversal of these budget cuts. Because we cannot see how our schools can run with fewer teachers next year.”

Other speakers to address the crowd included representatives from the GMB, Unison and NASUWT as well as Labour councillor Jill Pidgeon and Green councillor Jon Molyneux.

Ms McGuire said councillors were “making decisions without fully understanding the impact on pupils or staff”.

“We understand the limitations on budgets, but given the disaster happening in Glasgow, it is time for the Scottish Government to intervene,” she added, calling on politicians to “step up and fix their current mess”.

A council spokeswoman said: “Our officers will continue to support our headteachers and their schools during this process.

“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.

“Offices 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.”

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