Comment: School cuts will come at a price

The janitor clears snow from the playground at Craiglockart Primary School.
The janitor clears snow from the playground at Craiglockart Primary School.
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Janitors have been part of school life for generations.

Always on hand with a mop and bucket of sawdust, the traditional jannie is a reassuring figure to have around. Of course there is more to the role than just cleaning up. In crowded city schools, where a single room often has to double up as say a dining room and gym hall these days, shifting furniture and getting rooms ready is part of the job. So is fixing broken classroom equipment.

Getting things like this done efficiently is important because it allows teachers to get on with teaching.

The number of classroom assistants in our schools has already been cut, putting extra pressure on teachers. Further cuts are only likely to increase that pressure.

It may be that there are more efficient ways to deliver the support schools need than the current set up. Until we see detailed proposals we can’t tell.

There is a familiar pattern at work though. Backroom staff bear the brunt of public service cuts in order to protect frontline staff.

If schools have to cut back, then it makes sense to ensure teaching posts are protected as far as possible.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that getting rid of backroom staff is an easy solution. There will be a price to pay for axing school staff.