AN EDUCATION union representative has described cuts which will see nearly £2.3m slashed from the budgets of Fife’s 19 high schools over the next two years as “bonkers”.

The savings, predicted to have “very serious effects” on teaching, will include £42,630 at Beath High School.

David Farmer, from EIS Fife, said they have written to every Fife councillor urging them to reject further cuts.

“This is an issue which is bonkers,” he said. “When it was originally proposed and accepted in the budget, what I would note was there were no details of what it meant.

“The EIS asked for them three times and we did not get them. The councillors were really voting in the dark.”

Mr Farmer said such cuts would have “very serious effects” on the curriculum and on teachers’ workloads.

“It is impossible to give the same service with some of the cuts they are imposing. In one Fife school, if the cut was made again next year, the saving would be £346,741. You cannot expect services to remain at the same level.

“How can you talk about things like raising attainment and closing the attainment gap if you are making that sort of cut?

“This is, as far as the service is concerned, not a one off exercise. They want to repeat it next year – upwards of 40 management posts would be lost overall.

“For any teacher with ambitions for a promotion, that is going to be drastically reduced in Fife because the total number of promoted posts will be reduced.

“Basically they are sending out the message that we want you to join the teaching profession but after you get through your probation year and your NQT, don’t look to get promoted because this will not be happening.”

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker has called for an urgent meeting with Fife Council to discuss the cuts.

“Following the summer holidays pupils and teachers should be looking forward to the year and opportunities ahead. Instead we now have fears over the future of courses and the prospect of teaching posts being lost due to cuts to their budgets,” she said.

“I have serious concerns about the scale and pace of the cuts that some secondary schools are having to manage. Schools are already facing a challenging time and further cuts could undermine these pupils’ futures.”

Alex Rowley MSP described the cuts as “unacceptable” and said: “I do hope that John Swinney in his role as Education Secretary will work with Fife to stop these horrendous cuts to pupil’s education.

“I have also pointed out to the leadership of Fife Council that the council has over £27m of uncommitted savings in their accounts. They say this is for a rainy day, I say it is very much raining in Fife secondary schools and they should use £7m of this to offset these cuts over the next three years.”

Head of Education and Children’s Services, Shelagh McLean, said the quality of teaching and learning in schools was fundamental to their ambitions for Fife’s young people.

“This session we will continue to consider, with teaching staff and unions, 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 budget to best suit their local needs,” she said.

“Headteachers began informal discussions prior to the summer break with their staff about individual proposals on how their schools might manage their staffing levels within the budget expected for session 2019/2020. As and when any formal proposals are made for any individual school, we will follow all the usual consultation procedures. “As always our focus is on the best possible outcomes for children and young people and their future life chances.”