Aberdeen City Council
United Kingdom

Aberdeen City Council has applied 6% cuts to all services to meet the budgetary requirements set by the Scottish Government. As part of the austerity measures, the Pupil Support Assistant (PSA) budget is being reduced by £2.2million. A formula has been applied across all schools in Aberdeen and PSA hours will be reduced by as much as 60%.

The PSAs are essential to the delivery of education to children with and without special educational needs. For example, a PSA will help a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder focus on a piece of work while the teacher works with the remainder of the class. The same PSA will also, when the opportunity arises, help mark and correct work done in class by a child with no special educational needs. With reduced PSA support, the teaching staff will have less time to do their current classroom tasks. The standard of education of all children will therefore be compromised if the proposed cuts are implemented in August 2009.

The formula being applied to reduce PSAs is more heavily weighted for school roll and deprivation than on the actual needs of the children. This has lead to inconsistencies in the planned PSA reductions. A large school in an area of greater deprivation, but with no special needs unit will have a relatively small reduction in PSAs. In contrast a school in an area of less deprivation, but with a special needs unit will suffer greatly. The perceived injustice of PSA cuts has been exaggerated by the injustice of the outdated formula. No assessment of needs has been done. The proposed PSA cuts are not in the spirit of the Education (Additional Support For Learning) Act 2004 and, being purely financially-driven, contravene the legislation. These cuts will impact on the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence, the Scottish Government's flagship education policy.

In summary, the PSA cuts will affect the delivery of education to all children in Aberdeen. These children are the future of the North East of Scotland and should be shielded from the financial constraints that the elected adults in Aberdeen City Council have created.

We, the undersigned, are calling on Aberdeen City Council to stop the planned 30-60% reduction in Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs) in Aberdeen schools.

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The Stop the PSA Cuts Now petition to Aberdeen City Council was written by Tracey Davidson and is in the category Education at GoPetition.