Well if we get a new Administration then …

Comment posted Argyll Rural Schools Network puts all candidates to the test on rural schools by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll.

Well if we get a new Administration then it will a SNP led coalition meaning the leader will be an SNP councillor however George would be an excellent canidate to be deputy leader.

Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll also commented

  • Not according to COSLA – they believe that there really isn’t much of a correlation between the closing of a school and impact on the surrounding area.

    Of course they have no evidence to support this claim – but then again nor did Ally McLeod when he claimed Scotland would win the world cup and…. oh yeh.

  • There may be an occasional update to the list as responses come in so do check back prior to election day.
  • Just a quick update on this. Excellent response so far (from candidates across A&B) with still a week to go before we publish the list of candidates.

    Things are being arranged with the media as well.

  • oh and also George Freeman obviously.
  • Mary Devon voted against on November 25th along with Cllr MacNaughton.

Recent comments by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll

  • Stuart Hill challenges Supreme Court to test security of jurisdiction for Shetland
    You may well be correct Thorfinn. It was a little while ago I read about it so there may well have been a subsequent council decision since.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  • Stuart Hill challenges Supreme Court to test security of jurisdiction for Shetland
    Thorfinn

    My apologies for going totally off track with this post but I was wondering whether you might be able to provide a little insight into how the people of the Shetland Isles are reacting to the council’s consideration of selling off Sella Ness.

    No worries if you don’t want to respond. I’m just curious, no hidden agenda.

  • Russell writes to councillors on Castle Toward decision tomorrow as some are denied a vote
    Oban Worthy

    Apologies for the delay responding, I only just noticed your response. You are correct that there is some flexibility which is why I said predominantly. There are always gray areas over whether an item is revenue expenditure or capital expenditure and I would wager there isn’t a council in the country who don’t have some revenue expenditure funded from capital.

    The classic example used in old accountancy days is replacement windows. If you replace like for like it is arguable revenue expenditure as it is maintenance but if you replace single glazed for double glazed then it is an enhancement therefore capital. However the argument for it being revenue falls down a bit if new windows extend the useful life of the building (which they would do if they old ones were in such disrepair).

    However the extent to which it can be done is limited and I don’t see dumping a £750k capital receipt into delivery of services as something which could be classified as being ‘around the margins’

    Sokay, in answer to your question about Mike Russell’s statement I certainly wouldn’t be minded to make a call on reasoning for it. Only he could answer that. As far as I know he doesn’t have an extensive background in finance/accountancy and the restrictions on capital receipts and accountancy rules about revenue and capital budgets are a bit of a nerdy techie thing!!

    Anyway this is all a bit after the lord mayor’s show now as the decision has been made (the wrong one in my opinion). Whilst I say the wrong one I say so based on the arguments put forward on here by people who are far closer to it than I am (and also people who I have respect for). It would be a better scenario if those councillors who opposed the sale would be forthcoming about their counter arguments. However as we have seen many times in the past elected members ed by the nose by Cllr Walsh are rarely forthcoming in their opinions

  • Russell writes to councillors on Castle Toward decision tomorrow as some are denied a vote
    It is maybe worth highlighting that the sale of the asset and the money received (whether it be £750k, £1.75m or something in between) has no impact on the revenue budget as has been suggested on here. Councils are restricted in the way they spend receipts from the sale of assets.
    Predominantly they are only allowed to use capital receipts on further capital expenditure and not for routine revenue expenditure – the revenue and capital budgets are very distinct (albeit with some overlap due to the need for the revenue budget to take account of incurred interest costs and ongoing maintenance of capital assets).

    So the £1m ‘discount’ will not impact on the revenue budget of any area. What does impact the revenue budget right now is the ongoing maintenance costs which have been mentioned many times.

    Whether it is a paper transaction or not is debatable. I am assuming the valuation of £1.75m is based on open market value however that might not be the case. If it was available for sale on the open market would it realistically fetch £1.75m and would there be potential buyers? If the answer to either of those questions is ‘no’ then it isn’t really a £1m discount.

    Someone else suggested a risk that a buyer could get future planning permission on the land and turn round a tidy profit. As far as I know there would be nothing preventing the council putting a clawback clause into the sale contract which would protect them against such an event. Some sort of sliding clawback (i.e. if the buyer resells the asset for a profit within 3 years then 70% of any profit goes back to the council, between 3 and 6 years, 40%, 10 years 20% etc etc). Such a clawback has been used by Scottish Ministers in the past so I assume it would be an option open to the council.

  • Outright win for John Armour and SNP in South Kintyre
    The low turnout doesn’t surprise me. I think the referendum has exhausted people of politics temporarily and whilst I do think there will be a short term increase in the support for SNP candidates in local elections as a show of support this is slightly tempered in A&B because, quite frankly, the local SNP in A&B have been something of a shambles.

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26 Responses to Well if we get a new Administration then …

    • About as surprising as your inability to comment on the actual story.

      In their submission to the Rural Education Commission COSLA claim that rural schools only have a limited contribution to community life and that they are not aware of any evidence to support the claim that schools should be continued simply on the grounds of the role it places in the community. First and foremost this is a misrepresentation of the arguments and views expressed by parents and campaigners across Scotland. ARSN have no knowledge of any campaign which argues for school retention solely on the grounds of community impact, campaigns focus on all relevant factors with community impact being just one of them.

      ARSN recognise that there is limited research on the impact of schools on community sustainability however disagree with COSLA’s claim that there is none. Two such studies, the ‘Outer Hebrides Migration Study’ and ‘Factors Influencing Rural Migration Decisions in Scotland: An Analysis of the Evidence’ should be well known to COSLA as they were erroneously referenced by Argyll & Bute Council as providing evidence that the existence of schools were not of significant importance to the sustainability of rural communities. The author of the Hebrides study wrote to ARSN and stated that ‘ Overall I feel that using this report as a basis for concluding that schools are less important in sustaining rural communities is wholly unjustified. The report clearly states that business, jobs and housing are the factors that will help to sustain local communities and that retaining primary school rolls is an explicit desirable outcome of doing so.’

      Equally the researcher of the second study stated ‘“My research did not recommend the closure of rural primary schools. It highlighted the importance of rural schools in enhancing the social and economic sustainability of some areas.”

      We would welcome more research into this area find it disturbing that COSLA are seeking to reduce the importance of this issue. COSLA have specifically asked the Commission to provide clarity on what is expected and proportional for authorities to evidence during their consideration of community impact and expressed a clear dissatisfaction that communities expect Councils to undertake unique research and reports into every closure proposal. Whilst ARSN recognise that some generic research may be applicable to all closure proposals it is quite clear that each community will have local issues that are specific to their community and their community only. We consider COSLA’s desire to minimize the requirement for community impact assessments of closure proposals as having questionable motive and contrary to the Commission’s remit.

      COSLA’s letter also dismisses the impact of GAE, questions the ability of campaigners to understand the complexities of local government finance and appears to take offence that officer’s competence is questioned. This assumption that the public has neither the capacity nor experience to challenge is symptomatic of a culture that fails to recognise the abilities of the Scottish public and conveniently ignores the proven errors made by Council officers in a number of closure proposals. The Scottish Rural Schools Network has, on numerous occasions, highlighted fundamental errors in Council’s calculation of GAE with proposal papers having to be revised as a direct consequence.

      COSLA further highlights their concern about delivery of the CfE in rural schools. This is an argument that has been repeated, practically verbatim, in numerous closure proposals despite a lack of evidence to support it. ARSN can highlight many examples of small rural schools delivering CfE and receiving ‘Excellent’ classifications in their HMIE/Education Scotland reports in this category. If individual councils are struggling to deliver CfE in a small school then they should identify the root cause of this rather than blaming it on school size. School size has been proven not to be a limiting factor and the Rural Education Commission confirmed this during its visit to Lochgilphead Joint Campus in March 2012. An analysis of the submissions to the Commission’s call for evidence highlights that teachers do not believe that school size is a limiting factor in the delivery of CfE despite council claims. That the opinion of practitioners appears to be being ignored by elected members is of great concern to ARSN and makes us sceptical about COSLA’s claim that ‘Councils want to do the best for Scotland’s children.

      Just as COSLA are claiming small schools will struggle to deliver CfE it is also possible to construct a counter argument that small schools will be more effective in implementing CfE than larger schools. Mixed age classes are more common in rural primaries than in urban schools with studies demonstrating that mixed age learning tends to have a positive educational effect on pupils and that small class size has beneficial effects on group learning, largely through better discipline when there are fewer groups and also the ability of the teacher to give time to each group rather than having to police discipline.

      Given that the rural education commission is still to complete its work it is strange that COSLA choose this particular time to issue this letter to the national media and we can only conclude that it has been done in an attempt to inappropriately influence the commission’s conclusions.

      Or, in shorter terms, COSLA are talking twaddle!

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  1. Yes Simon, we all saw and tell me did you notice the complete flippin lack of evidence COSLA supplied to back up their propaganda? mmmmmm?

    Wonder what they think they have to gain by such a ridiculously baseless article, when the Commission is nearing a conclusion to it’s work. Unless of course, COSLA are pooping their pants that the Commission comes back with the results COSLA don’t want… mmmm?

    My evening will be very pleasant thank you :)

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  2. Could it be that post-election we may have a different COSLA-one that better represents the mood of the country?
    The times they are a-changing?

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  3. Given the recent COSLA report,the unrepentant stance of many Councillors currently in post, and bearing in mind the imminence of the Local Council Elections on May 3rd, it is perhaps timely to remind everyone that on 25th November 2010, and in the face of huge and vocal opposition, the following 19 Councillors voted to close 25 Primary Schools in Argyll and Bute:

    • Rory Colville, Liberal Democrat
    • Robin Currie, Liberal Democrat
    • Vivien Dance, Independent
    • Alison Hay, Liberal Democrat
    • Daniel Kelly, Independent
    • David Kinniburgh, Conservative
    • Neil MacKay, Independent
    • Bruce Marshall, Independent
    • Donnie Macmillan, Independent
    • Duncan McIntyre, Independent
    • James McQueen, Independent
    • Ellen Morton, Liberal Democrat
    • Gary Mulvaney, Conservative
    • Andrew Nisbett, Liberal Democrat
    • William Petrie, Provost, Independent
    • Al Reay, Liberal Democrat
    • Elaine Robertson, Independent
    • Len Scoullar, Independent
    • Dick Walsh, Independent and Council Leader.

    It might be prudent for voters to bear this record in mind in respect of those of the above who are offering themselves for re-election. Is the future of our children safe in their hands? The record suggests not, and the remedy is obvious. DON’T VOTE FOR THE NAUGHTY NINETEEN! Vote instead for candidates who have a CLEAR MANIFESTO COMMITMENT to keeping our schools open. This is our one chance to put things right once and for all. A new brush sweeps clean! GRRR

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  4. Thanks Tyger I’ll certainly bear this voting record in mind. As will many others I’m sure.

    You guys are going to be so ticked if these folks get returned. :)

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  5. I’m not interested in trying to impress anyone on here as sadly none of you can vote for me ;-)

    I am 100 per cent behind that statement though. Communities need rural schools just as schools need communities. I’ve seen the after effects of a community school being demolished (in Edinburgh) and the effect on the local area was devastating.

    God willing, our own battle to save Muirfield will end on May 3rd. I then hope Arbroath can move forward and also hope that Argyll doesnt have to suffer the same agony of school closure proposals as now.

    Good luck A&B and please choose your votes wisely. ;-)

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      • Drumbrae Primary School. Very sad what happened to that community. It closed just a few months before the Schools Consultation Act came into force after a very vocal campaign by locals. I used to live just down the road from it in Edinburgh and when I visited the site last year I was shocked at how derelict it looked.

        A community that had a strong connection because of the school devastated by the demolition squad.

        Thanks for the good luck wishes!

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  6. Pingback: Argyll News: Candidate response to Argyll Rural Schools Network | For Argyll

  7. We all know that money is tight just now and education does take a large slice of the local budget. Having said that, I think that any school closure has to be approached with great caution.
    The closing a school not only affects the viability of the immediate community, but also has long term effects on surrounding areas and its infrastructure. In fact the closure could cause more problems than it solves.

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    • Not according to COSLA – they believe that there really isn’t much of a correlation between the closing of a school and impact on the surrounding area.

      Of course they have no evidence to support this claim – but then again nor did Ally McLeod when he claimed Scotland would win the world cup and…. oh yeh.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Oh dear! Just seen the list of councillors/candidates who have signed up for this.

    Helmets on, popcorn at the ready, I have a feeling the fun is about to begin.

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