Wednesday February 6th 2019
Written by King’s Park Primary School Parent Council
Dear Councillors and Officers
We write on behalf of King’s Park Primary School Parent Council in response to Midlothian Council’s proposed budget cuts for 2019/20 to 2021/2022. We are most concerned about the cuts that will affect the most vulnerable children in our community. Our concerns are the same as those we raised in November 2017 and we are dismayed to see you propose the same, and more, cuts to services vital to children and young people.
We reiterate our strong opposition to cuts to:
Learning Assistants – Cutting Learning Assistants removes a vital support from some of the most vulnerable pupils in our school. Children with Additional Support Needs rely on this service. Learning Assistants improve attainment across the whole class. Teachers cannot teach a class where they have a child or children who is not getting the support they need. The Council already cannot meet its requirements on inclusion of all pupils without sufficient Learning Assistants.
Free instrumental tuition – Learning a musical instrument, and playing it with others, has huge benefits for building community, developing social skills, improving maths skills and improving mental health. Since you increased fees, participation in music tuition has fallen. Last time you proposed this cut, 2840 people in Midlothian signed a petition against cutting free instrumental tuition (Nov 2017). A Scottish Parliament inquiry into the issue concluded last month that music tuition should be provided free of charge SEE HERE
Active Schools – You would be the first local authority in Scotland to cut this valuable programme which 33% of school pupils in Midlothian used in 2017/18. You would cut off the only route into sport that many children have and break links which have been established between school sports and local community clubs. Given that you fund 25% of the programme, with 75% of funding coming from Scottish Government, the savings made would be small in comparison with the significant loss to children’s health and wellbeing that this cut would create.
Libraries – Closing local libraries starves children of a vital opportunity to access not only books, but computers, activities such as coding workshops, and a free, safe space. When you last proposed cutting libraries, 2000 people in Midlothian signed a petition against library closures (Nov 2017).
We are dismayed to see you suggesting the same cuts again. This is an unacceptable and punitive erosion of education and opportunity for our children.
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