TEACHERS are working under immense pressure, class sizes are too large and schools cannot afford to buy books.

That's the view of Alex Rowley MSP who also stated in the Scottish Parliament that there was a "desperate need" for more teaching support assistants.

While welcoming some of the proposed reforms set out by Education Secretary John Swinney, he said they would not address the "chronic shortage of funding".

Mr Rowley said: "I fear that the government and parliament are getting caught up in reforming structures and processes whilst the big challenges and pressures on our schools will not be addressed.

"It is high time that ministers started to listen to teachers and those on the front line of education.

"In schools, teacher after teacher point to large class sizes, the cuts in school budgets, the need for more teaching assistants and the added pressure from continual change being the issues that must be addressed.”

Changes being proposed by the Scottish Government include giving head teachers new powers over the curriculum, hiring teachers and closing the attainment gap, as well as the establishment of ‘regional improvement collaboratives’ which will see councils share resources to support schools.

Mr Rowley, Mid Scotland and Fife MSP and deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party, said some of the changes were positive but said they wouldn't bring in more classroom assistants, cut class sizes or deliver the investment needed for basic learning materials and equipment.

He said he also had serious concerns about the roles of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Education Scotland "in making a difficult situation much worse across education in Scotland".

Mr Rowley added: "We must have a wider discussion on all these issues with teachers, pupils and parents if we are going to tackle the big challenges facing our school system in Scotland."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland’s education system is performing strongly, with an increasing proportion of young people leaving school with Highers or Advanced Highers.

"Our reforms to school governance will strengthen our education system even further.

“Resources are central to our education reforms.

"Ministers have made clear that headteachers will be given more power to make decisions in their schools to improve education and more money to make the changes needed.

"A consultation on future funding is now also underway.”

Mr Rowley's call for action follows criticism of the proposed reforms by Fife EIS publicity officer David Farmer, who said last month: "Whatever the benefits of the Scottish Government proposals, they cannot achieve as much as a properly-staffed, funded and resourced education service could achieve.

“All of this happens under the grey skies of austerity. When you spend less, as a percentage of GDP, on education than other countries and when you pay your teachers less than other countries, aren’t these the three real issues to pursue or does that simply cost too much?”