Highlands & Islands

Skye parents stage 'Walk out Wednesday' protest

Pupils in classroom generic
Image caption The council said savings made on the post would help protect other services

Campaigners on Skye opposed to the planned end of classroom assistants' posts have staged a fresh protest.

Maureen MacLean, of Portree Primary's parent council, said the demonstration in the school's playground had been dubbed Walk out Wednesday.

Some islanders took their children out of classes early on Monday.

Highland Council has said savings made by removing the post would help it to protect other key services from facing cuts.

Mrs MacLean said parents were being asked to remain with their children in the playground from 0900 to 0915 GMT to show their anger at the move.

She said: "We decided we wanted to do what we call Walk out Wednesday.

"We feel Highland Council has not looked into this properly. Classroom assistants give support to children and teachers."

Following Monday's protest, Skye councillor Hamish Fraser said the local authority sympathised with parents' concerns.

He said: "We have a job to do within the council to spend the money we have available to use from the Scottish government to provide services throughout the whole council."

'Best education'

Mr Fraser added: "We will continue to look at the ways in which we can ensure that there is no impact on these small rural schools, and that we can provide the best services to enable our children to get the best education they can get with the resources we have available from the government."

The council will meet on Thursday to debate the budget proposed for the next financial year and where cuts will be made.

The proposals include cutting 156 full-time equivalent classroom assistant jobs, which are filled by about 342 people.

In their place, 60 full-time equivalent jobs as learning support auxiliaries would be created and filled by 150 people on a part-time basis.

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