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COSLA WARNING ON PRICE OF EDUCATION PLANS

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A policy expected to provide the foundations for the future of education in Scotland could cost as much as£500m, a...
A policy expected to provide the foundations for the future of education in Scotland could cost as much as£500m, according to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

The recommendations for teachers' pay and conditions over the next five years outlined in the McCrone report on Wednesday could cost double the figure suggested, said COSLA education and children's issues spokesman Danny McCafferty.

'Councils are responsible for paying teachers, so it is vital for us that the recommendations are accurately costed. According to our initial calculations, the report has underestimated some aspects and failed altogether to cost others.'

Local government will be expected to carry out the recommendations of the McCrone report along with teachers, parents and the Scottish Executive. It lays out plans for developing and supporting staff in the teaching profession as well as training, pay and working conditions.

But Mr McCafferty is concerned that costs will also increase in time as the proposals come into force.

'We all have to accept that costs will go up. At this stage the key point is to make sure we know exactly what we need to take education forward and that we have the means to deliver. There must be no hidden agendas and no hidden surprises. The education system in Scotland and our young people must be the winners.'

Convention president Norman Murray said members intended to discuss the suggestions in the McCrone report with trade unions and ministers in the Scottish Executive.

'Local government budgets are already fully stretched and the government will have to meet its share of the bill. If McCrone's recommendations are not funded centrally they cannot be implemented,' he said.

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