Campaigns have been set up to oppose Highland Council’s shake-up of jobs in its schools.

The council has begun a three-year “phased approach” to reducing numbers of additional support needs teachers and pupil support assistants.

It said the roles will be targeted at the children in most need of support.

A petition opposing the changes has gathered more than 5,000 names so far, while parents in Grantown on Spey have launched a campaign.

Friends of Autism Highland and Highland Action Group for ASN and Education are also calling for a halt to the redesign.

Concerns have been raised that some children will miss out on the help they currently get from additional support needs (ASNs) teachers and pupil support assistants (PSAs).

Campaigners warned that PSAs on fixed term contracts could lose their jobs before the end of the academic term.

‘Nurturing and encouraging’

Highland Council said it was committed to avoiding redundancies.

It said a training programme to help ASNs take up other teaching roles and for PSAs to find work in new roles in early learning and childcare was in development.

But Ingrid Artus, chairwoman of Friends of Grantown Primary School, said: “These cuts will not just have an impact on our children who need a bit of extra help with their learning in school.

“These cuts will affect children who have suffered a bereavement, ill-health, significant learning difficulties and those who require some extra day to day work with their school work.

“These cuts will have an immense long term impact on the education of our children who are our future workforce.”

She added: “We should be nurturing and encouraging their education instead of working out how to deliver the absolute minimum.”