One hundred North Ayrshire education jobs could be under threat if an overhaul of funding for pupils from councils in deprived areas goes ahead.

A government document revealed this week showed proposals for a “redistribution” of cash currently earmarked for councils with specific attainment funding.

The paper by council umbrella group COSLA shows the method of allocation is to be changed:

“The Challenge Schools funding will cease and there will be a tapered redistribution of the £43 million currently distributed to the nine Challenge Authorities to a strategic allocation to all 32 local authorities.”

The Scottish Government plans for closing the poverty-related attainment gap were backed up by £215m this year.

One of the five programmes was £43m of “challenge” funding for the nine councils with the highest concentrations of deprivation.

North Ayrshire is one of eight councils in receipt of ‘challenge’ funding, and if changes go ahead, this could impact the funding of specialised school projects.

Some examples include employing teaching staff to develop such areas of attainment, lunch clubs and school counselling and campus police officers.

As well as providing funding for materials including laptops, iPads, auditory technology, the funding was used to focus on children with additional support needs.

John Bell, North Ayrshire’s Cabinet member for Education said: “This is devastating news for families and

young people across North Ayrshire.

“Once upon a time, Nicola Sturgeon asked to be judged on closing the class-based attainment gap in education. Now her government are cutting millions of pounds from anti-poverty initiatives in our schools.

“To cut this funding after the impact of the pandemic on young people’s education is callous.

“There are over 100 members of staff, including many teachers, employed on initiatives funded from the attainment challenge funding in North Ayrshire?

“Should they simply be dumped on the unemployment scrapheap?”