There are fears that East Renfrewshire children with dyslexia could suffer as council chiefs try to plug a massive budget black hole.

A number of local youngsters with the learning difficulty are given additional support in the classroom, as well as help from psychologists.

However, East Renfrewshire Council has admitted that cutbacks might have to be made in those areas to save money.

The local authority is considering plans to axe £20million from its education budget, which could mean reducing the number of support teachers and pupil support assistants.

Council chiefs also said the option of cutting the primary school week by two-and-a-half hours was on the table.

Now concerns have been raised over the impact on pupils with dyslexia, which affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling and is normally identified after children begin school.

Mother-of-three Nuala Ashe, chair of the East Renfrewshire branch of Dyslexia Scotland, said cuts in support could cause long-term damage to youngsters.

Nuala, who has two children with dyslexia, including one who is still at secondary school, told the Barrhead News: “We are gravely concerned about these proposals.

“The proposed cuts by East Renfrewshire Council will fail those that need it most and their future careers as adults could lie in the balance too.”

Nuala claims the savings could also have an effect on the mental health of children with dyslexia and lead to increased anxiety.

She has stressed that their education has already been badly disrupted by the Covid pandemic and home schooling and the proposed savings would make things even worse.

Nuala, from Clarkston, added: “Dyslexia Scotland recognise the need for cuts in certain areas but these should not be one of them.

“Pupil support assistants or classroom assistants play a crucial role alongside the class teachers in helping to identify and support pupils with dyslexia.

“Reduced availability of these staff members will of course have an impact on the ability of schools to identify and support learners with dyslexia.”

Nuala also fears that cuts in the school week might lead to larger class sizes and less time for pupils with the condition.

A council spokesperson said: “We are committed to supporting all our children and young people to achieve their very best.

“Like all councils, we are facing unprecedented financial challenges in the years ahead and a range of difficult decisions will need to be made to close our expected £30million budget gap.

“Councillors will set the final budget on March 1 and we will work hard to mitigate the impact any savings have on our services, including continuing to support those with additional learning needs.”