Councillors hit out at planned cuts to ASL staff at Stranraer Academy
Two Stranraer and the Rhins councillors have launched a scathing attack on plans to cut Additional Support for Learner (ASL) staff at Stranraer Academy.
Councillor Willie Scobie and Tommy Sloan heard a rumour Dumfries and Galloway Council was not replacing three ASL posts at the school and, on meeting with an education official, it was confirmed this was being considered.
The two councillors have managed to stall the move until further discussion takes place with the head teacher and education officials in a review.
Councillor Sloan said “This madcap suggestion of having ASL cut will affect the most vulnerable of our young people who are coming out of nearly two years of having their education effected.
“This was put to us as an ‘operational’ issue when we met with a senior council official which, in our opinion, was an attempt to exclude us from any deliberations on the matter.
"Officials have got to realise it is members who take decisions and we’ll be making that point at the highest level.
“We are seeing an increase of young people who have had their mental health effected by the lockdowns and who require additional learning support.
“The very suggestion that the education authority should even contemplate cutting ASL support is beyond comprehension.”
Councillor Scobie said: “The ASL budget was cut some three years ago by nearly £750,000 and the education committee had to put back over £300,000 because the system was collapsing under pressure as it will no doubt do again.
“We warned all the other councillors at the time of the effect these cuts would have, and have now been proven right, but to now suggest three ASL posts at the Academy will not to be replaced is nonsensical and just asking for trouble.”
Both councillors see such a move as going against everything the Scottish Government said about support for children in coming out of lockdown.
Councillor Scobie said: “If the suggestion of any reduction to ASL posts at the Academy is not taken away then we will be coming forward with a suitably worded motion and will be looking to the administration to be behind us.”