Classroom Assistants

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 26 June 2013.

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Photo of Bruce Crawford Bruce Crawford Scottish National Party

18. To ask the Scottish Government how important classroom assistants are in enabling young people to achieve their full educational potential. (S4O-02309)

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

Support staff have a valuable contribution to make in supporting children and young people to achieve positive learning outcomes, and they have a key role in helping young people, especially some of our most vulnerable children, to remain included, engaged and involved throughout their school careers.

Photo of Bruce Crawford Bruce Crawford Scottish National Party

Given the importance and value of classroom assistants, which the minister outlined well, does he understand my disappointment that the Tory-Labour Stirling Council is considering reducing the number of classroom assistants? Does he understand the disappointment and dismay that pupils and parents in the Stirling area feel about that so-called better together administration as a result of those planned reductions?

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government does not employ teachers or classroom assistants directly and, therefore, it cannot guarantee levels of employment in Stirling or any other local authority area. However, other Scottish local authorities have been able to avoid making cuts to such important jobs, so there is no obvious good reason why Stirling Council could not drop the potentially harmful plans and provide the same level of service as is provided elsewhere.

Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour

Perhaps the minister could outline the not obvious good reason for Renfrewshire Council, under the Scottish National Party, doing away with classroom assistants.

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

My understanding from the previous survey of teachers is that the number of classroom assistants in Scotland has fallen by seven in the past year, so I am not sure that the picture that the member paints of a decline in classroom assistants across Scotland bears much examination.