Existing Users

Access your account, submit a petition & check the progress of your petition.

Forgotten password?

Remember me

New user? Sign up now

Previous Action

As this petition has arisen from a policy affecting the education of children within Renfrewshire Council, much of the initial action taken to resolve the issue has been carried out a local level.

A strong parent’s campaign, led by Renfrewshire Parent Council Forum, was established. It opposed the Council’s plan to replace teachers in primary schools with non-teaching staff for 2.5 hours a week. Hundreds of parents wrote to councillors asking them to stop the policy from being implemented. Parents approached their MSPs asking if the Scottish Parliament could allow such a major change to education. Many visited MSP and councillor surgeries to voice their concerns. A set of briefing papers written by the Acting Chair of the Forum detailed the many reasons why the policy did not stand up to scrutiny. Teachers and teaching regulatory bodies supported the campaign, as did a number of MSPs from across Scotland. Over 1,000 people attended a rally in Paisley to protest against the move, and 3,000 signed a petition. In response to the level of opposition, the Council decided to suspend the policy and on 2 March it agreed to completely withdraw it.

However, as the campaign has progressed, it has become very apparent that this is not a local issue but one that has far reaching consequences for Scottish education as a whole. In a bid to look at its wider implications national bodies were asked their views on the policy.

The General Teaching Council deemed it ‘highly unprofessional and potentially illegal’. The main teaching union in Scotland, the EIS, condemned it with 97% of teachers voting against the policy in an indicative ballot.

The National Parent Forum for Scotland discussed the issues affecting Renfrewshire in a national context at its annual meeting on 5 March. They also back the call for new legislation for which clearly states that children across Scotland require to be taught by qualified teachers for 25 hours a week.

Despite our success in resolving the issue in Renfrewshire for the immediate future, we have not resolved the issue for the future or in a national context. When this matter was raised with the Scottish Government, its response was that the length of the school day and week “are matters for the discretion of the education authorities. However, no response was given regarding the issue of children being taught by qualified teachers for 25 hours a week.