A FIFE teaching union has condemned plans to cut secondary school staffing budgets.

The EIS says £1.1 million is to be slashed across 18 secondaries and these measures will impact directly on promoted staff in schools.

Its Fife publicity officer, David Farmer, said: “While a handful of secondary schools will see a modest increase, the vast majority will see a substantial cut.

"Staff should hear from headteachers the proposals that they have drawn up to put these cuts into operation.

“Between now and the summer holiday, Fife EIS expects, because the education service have told us it will be so, dialogue between management and trade unions within schools where cuts have been proposed.”

Mr Farmer said they understand that a formal ‘managing change’ exercise will start shortly into the new term.

“At a time when the Scottish Government has highlighted subject specialists, don’t such cuts threaten the availability of specialist subject courses?

"At a time when there is ongoing national discussion about teacher pathways, doesn’t such a cut obliterate certain pathways by simply removing promoted posts?

“What will this say to prospective teachers when there is already a crisis of recruitment in Fife and nationally?

“It is against this backdrop that the EIS is currently campaigning nationally for a pay award of 10 per cent. The EIS believes that both national and local government should value education and value teachers.

“The concern of Fife EIS is that this could show an unwillingness on the part of Fife Council to recognise the efforts being made in schools.”

Head of education and children’s services Shelagh McLean commented: “The quality of teaching and learning in our schools is fundamental to our ambitions for our young people and a fairer, stronger Fife.

"Next session we will be considering, with teaching staff and unions, new ways to ensure that each school has a fair allocation of budget according to its size and to give more discretion to headteachers to use their staffing budget to best suit their school.

"When there are formal proposals, we will follow all the usual consultation procedures.

“There is no suggestion that there will be no new permanent posts or opportunities for career progression. We have an excellent professional learning and leadership development programme across Fife, and this will continue.

“We are facing budget challenges and, like all council services, we are required to make savings. We do this over time.

“At today’s in-service day, headteachers had an informal discussion with their staff about proposals on how schools might manage their own staffing budgets in the future.

“As always, our focus is on the best possible outcomes for children and young people and their future life chances.”