Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Scottish Greens education spokesperson Isla O’Reilly has called for a greater use of technologies like videoconferencing to protect the range of subjects available to pupils in Highland schools.
Ms O’Reilly, who is also a Green candidate for the Highlands and Islands region at May’s Scottish election, said she had received reports that students were being denied the choice of subject including sciences and languages as a result of local government budget cuts.
The Scottish Greens oppose the cuts, and have put forward a plan to raise revenue and reverse austerity by taxing vacant land and high-value properties, and giving councils back the power to set their own local Council Tax rates. The proposal was rejected by the Scottish Government.
Ms O’Reilly said:
“Councils are having their funding cut by 3.5% in this week’s Scottish Budget, and that is already having a real effect on our children’s education.
“These cuts are not unavoidable. The Green MSPs have been fighting to stop the cuts by using the powers we already have to raise revenue. Unfortunately the Scottish Government have rejected the Green proposals, so it falls to councils to manage the cuts as best they can.
“We’re getting reports from parents that secondary school pupils across the Highlands and Islands are losing out on access to subjects including sciences, languages and modern studies, due to staff cuts.
“Many Highlands and Islands pupils already suffer restricted subject choices, especially in smaller and more remote schools.
“But the north has also seen the great success of the University of the Highlands and Islands, which is at the forefront of using technology to provide high-quality teaching and learning remotely.
“I’m calling on Highland Council to urgently invest in the videoconferencing and other e-learning facilities that could stop the cuts from denying our schoolchildren the full choice subjects.”