Teacher Funding Talks To Take Place

Council leaders will hold talks with the Scottish Government today as the row between them over funding for teacher numbers continues.

Leaders of local government body Cosla have accused Holyrood ministers of ''imposing'' a deal on them after Deputy First Minister John Swinney warned he would "claw back'' cash from councils if they reduced the number of teaching staff.

Cosla has now consulted lawyers and claims that the Scottish Government has a ''case to answer legally''.

Local government is to receive some £10.85 billion next year, with about £5 billion of the sum going on education.

But councils will only receive their share of £51 million of Scottish Government cash if they meet the conditions on teacher numbers.

Cosla argued its research shows there is no link between how well youngsters perform in exams and the pupil-to-teacher ratio - although this is contested by both the EIS teaching union and the Scottish Government

Mr Swinney said: ''The research that Cosla has put out has been challenged by a variety of educational voices, not least the EIS.

''What lies at the heart of the Government's determination is to make sure we use every effective intervention we can, whether it's Curriculum for Excellence, whether it's the maintenance of teacher numbers, to boost educational outcomes in our schools."

The Deputy First Minister, who was speaking during a visit to Aberdeen on Monday, urged councils to ``participate in that work and to agree directly to the proposals the Government has put forward''.

But Cosla wants the Scottish Government to get round the table and negotiate a national deal with authorities.

Chief executive Rory Mair said earlier this week: ''We've now taken legal advice which suggests the Government have a case to answer about the legality of their behaviour over the teacher number issue and the imposition of this deal.''

He added: ''We believe the Government haven't behaved reasonably and on taking expert legal advice we believe there are four legal challenges the Government have got to explain with regard to the way they have behaved.''

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