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					                                                                                    Item No: 12


                                INCREASED TEACHER NUMBERS



Purpose
1.      To up-date Convenors on the current position in relation to the allocation of funding to
achieve the target of having 53,000 teachers in post at August 2007, and to report back on action
since the last Executive Group.


Recommendations
2.   Convenors are invited to:
     (i)   Note the position in relation to distribution;
     (ii)  Note the position in relation to infrastructure;
     (iii) Approve the proposal to ask the Scottish Executive to set up an implementation
           group as soon as possible.


Detail

3.      Since the last Education Executive Group in September, the COSLA Leaders’ Meetings on
28 October and 18 November have considered this issue. At the meeting in October, Leaders
were asked to consider a proposal from the Scottish Executive that 80% of the funding for the
additional teachers would be allocated using primary and secondary GAE indicators and 20%
would be allocated using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). The proposal was
extremely contentious and was finally agreed on a vote, with a proviso that we would ask the
Executive to consider using a different indicator for deprivation to allow for a broader definition.

4.       The Scottish Executive then came back with an amended proposal that 80% of the funding
would still be distributed using GAE indicators, with 18% distributed on SIMD and 2% on sparsity.
We were also informed immediately prior to the Leaders Meeting on 18 November that the
allocation was likely to be announced in the 2006 Local Government Settlement on Wednesday 23
November. These proposals have always been in the form of discussion with civil servants; there
has never been a formal written proposal from the Minister. Leaders noted that position but agreed
to make strong representations to the Minister about the approach that had been taken. A copy of
the letter sent by Cllr Pat Watters to Peter Peacock is appended to this report.

5.        At the Leaders Meeting in October, officers were remitted to gather evidence in relation to
the infrastructure and accommodation implications of meeting the target of employing additional
teachers, and to use that evidence to put a case to the Minister for additional resources to
recognise these pressures. Discussion with civil servants has reinforced the view expressed in the
Minister’s letter which was circulated with the papers for the last Executive Group that the Schools
Fund should be sufficient to cover any additional costs. To date, 14 councils have responded to
our request for information and 9 of those have indicated that they would have significant
difficulties. On that basis, a letter will be submitted to the Minister requesting a meeting to discuss
this aspect of the commitment.
6.      In the longer term, councils will need to consider the implications of the political
commitment which has been made to meet the 53,000 teacher target. It is particularly important to
note that the numbers which SEED are using are at 2002 levels as funding has continued to be
allocated to councils at the level required in 2002, while it is likely that those councils with falling
school rolls are actually employing less teachers. The new money being allocated by the
Executive is to bring numbers up from 2002 levels, therefore there is an expectation that the
shortfall will be met by councils. We do not expect the letter from SEED which accompanies the
funding allocation to be prescriptive about how the additional teachers are to be deployed but there
is a clear expectation that the numbers will be met, and that the associated commitment to reduce
class sizes in P1 and Maths and English in S1 and S2, to employ additional PE Teachers and to
employ additional visiting specialists will be met, together with the reduction in class contact time.
We have yet to hear how that will be monitored, and would propose that we approach the Scottish
Executive Education Department to ask that an implementation group be set up so that problems
can be addressed in the lead up to August 2007.

Conclusion
7.      The discussions around distribution appear to be over, and the detail is likely to emerge
between the issuing of these papers and the date of the meeting. While the process had seemed
to be inclusive and based on trying to reach an agreement, it has become contentious and has
ended with a solution being imposed rather than agreed, despite COSLA’s best efforts. We remain
committed to seeking additional resources to address infrastructure costs, but believe it is unlikely
that any such resources will be forthcoming. The commitment to employ the additional teachers
remains and we must now move forward to addressing the implementation issues.

Anna Fowlie, Team Leader – Children & Young People
Tel: 0131 474 9273 – e- mail: anna@cosla.gov.uk
23 November 2005
From the President Councillor Pat Watters




21 November 2005

Peter Peacock CBE MSP
Minister for Education & Young People
Scottish Executive
Victoria Quay
EDINBURGH
EH6 6QQ


Dear Peter,

INCREASED TEACHER NUMBERS

Further to your telephone conversation with Ewan Aitken (8th November) and written
correspondence from him in his capacity as COSLA education spokesperson, I write to express
my disappointment with the process surrounding the distribution of funding for increased teacher
numbers.

As you will be aware, the proposals for funding have been the subject of contentious discussion
among COSLA Leaders. In October, officers were advised that the Executive’s proposal for
funding incorporated a 20% element to address deprivation. This was presented to Leaders at the
end of last month and following protracted debate, was agreed by way of a vote. Following this,
repeated efforts were made by officers and COSLA’s Education Spokesperson to emphasise the
need for a formal proposal on this matter, but no response was forthcoming.

On November 16th officers were advised informally that the Executive had changed its proposal
and planned to distribute the funding on the basis of 80% GAE indicators (primary & secondary),
18% deprivation and 2% supersparsity. This was the first indication that such an option was being
considered, despite contact over this time period by COSLA officers around the original proposal.
Furthermore, officers were advised that the resources for this policy area would be announced on
23rd November as part of the 2006/07 settlement, thus leaving little opportunity for COSLA
Leaders to discuss and scrutinise the proposal and no chance to make representations for
amendment. Leaders are under no illusion that they were effectively being presented last Friday
with a fait accompli.

While Leaders have accepted the new funding split proposed on the basis of the limited
information available, the process that has surrounded this issue is entirely unacceptable,
particularly given the in-depth discussions that have taken place on the understanding that the
Minister was very keen to secure an agreement with COSLA. Leading officers to believe that the
original 80/20 offer was a firm proposal, then altering the deal at the eleventh hour grossly
undermines the spirit of joint working under in which we understood we were operating.

COSLA pursued the distribution issue vigorously and acted in good faith on the information given
to us. It is therefore of great disappointment that the Executive has chosen to conduct
negotiations in this way. It was COSLA’s view that we were working in partnership with the
Executive to reach a mutually agreed solution on distribution; this has transpired not to be the
case. I was of the view that the Executive no longer did business in this way, but in this respect, I
appear to have been misled.         This whole issue is particularly disappointing because the
opportunity of having a good news story, with both the Executive and local government welcoming
the additional funds for education, has been lost. Instead we are left with authorities eying each
other suspiciously and viewing the Executive with scepticism.

Education is one of the major local government services and for COSLA, at the time of writing, to
still not be in receipt of any firm proposal from the Executive is quite staggering. Despite the fact
that such an offer in writing would now be merely tokenistic, I would ask you to do us the courtesy
of confirming your latest proposal formally. I would add that I want to express my wholehearted
disappointment over the way that this issue has been handled and sincerely hope that this does
not set a precedent for the Executive’s dealings with COSLA on this or any other policy area in the
future.

Yours sincerely




Councillor Pat Watters
President

				
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