Memory suggests that both Councillor Devon and Councillor …

Comment posted Argyll Rural Schools Network puts all candidates to the test on rural schools by newsroom.

Memory suggests that both Councillor Devon and Councillor McNaughton reverted to the group line on this issue after this single rebellion.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • The view from Lochinvar: party of the century from the Commonwealth Flotilla
    We dealt with this issue when the RYA initially made their rather ill-judged public complaint.
    There were two competing versions of what happened and no third party can know which was the closest to objective truth.
    The Waverley’s owners’ version was that her less than precise steering was judged by the harbour master to be a risk to other boats in the flotilla, should any unforeseen incident on the water occur.
    As we understand it, CalMac would have had their boat in the flotilla anyway; and Cruiser’s presence was an independent commercial enterprise by Clyde Marine.
    The RYA chartered Clyde Clipper from Clyde Marine for their own guests on the flotilla, amongst whom was Mike Cantlay Chair of VisitScotland.
    Since the RYA’s list of those it deemed Waverley to have let down included its own guests; and since it complained that the paddler’s owners had chosen ‘instead to pursue a corporate charter on the same day’ – it looks as if the RYA had expected to put its own guests on the Waverley at no charge – which seems a bit cheeky.
  • The view from Lochinvar: party of the century from the Commonwealth Flotilla
    You’re absolutely right. Apologies for the error – and we’ll correct the text now.
  • The view from Lochinvar: party of the century from the Commonwealth Flotilla
    Thank you – and I wasn’t looking for this.
    Lynda
  • The view from Lochinvar: party of the century from the Commonwealth Flotilla
    Thank you for your kind comments about the piece.
    I never know to whom comments refer – so to be clear, in what I said to defend For Argyll’s and my own very real independence of anything and anyone, I had not suggested in any way that Mr Black was a supporter of anything.
    I was – and am – concerned only at his assumption that For Argyll is different from what I know it to be.
  • Managed protest at Pacific Quay shames pro-indy campaign
    For Argyll editorialises as a matter of policy.
    With interactive media today, since any reader is free to comment [unedited] – and many do – a news platform is free to take a position and not contribute to a fraud on the public by pretending that there are two sides of equal weight on a specific issue, where this is not the case.
    Our positional judgments are made on the basis of evidence and not on the basis of preconception or bias.
    The powerful evidence for this is that we publicly supported potential independence for several years from 2007. The reasons why we have come to oppose it today are evidential and arise from serious independent researches of our own. These have shown us that the prospectus on which the country will vote on 18th September is incomplete and knowingly deceptive; that promises made cannot be fulfilled as the prospectus stands – and more are being made on a daily basis now [today's is that if you vote 'Yes', wages will go up]; and that controversial decisions planned to be taken [as on various aspects of taxation] have been suppressed until later for fear of losing votes.
    We have also become increasingly concerned at the degree and speed of implementation of a totalitarian political philosophy; and about the willingness to exert intimidation and deploy patronage to suppress criticism and resistance to this direction of travel. Ironically, this is the modus operandi indy is supposed to free us from.
    All that this indy would do is bring those instruments of manipulation even closer to home – and in the hands of a party of majority government now very experienced and skilled in using them. This is quite a frightening prospect.
    Economically and socially we can see nothing supportable arising from this prospectus or, now, from the party promoting it – so we do not support it.
    Personally, I have voted for the SNP in the past – and joined the party for several years – because it showed signs of an objective attempt actually to govern Scotland.
    I departed when it became progressively clear that principle had been discarded in favour of a obsessive will to gamble that the country will buy a false prospectus if it is bribed enough and emotionally manipulated enough.
    Personally, I prefer to hope that people will scrutinise, learn and think enough – but I do not discount disappointment on that hope.
    The methods used to conduct the campaign are below civility and simply insupportable – the bullying, the unachievable promises, the rank dishonesty, the sleight of hand statements to shore up decomposing positions.
    No one to whom honesty and straightforwardness matter could put their name to taking Scotland into an uncertain independence on the back of this prospectus and this campaign.
    I have learned to disrespect the SNP as a party – never a position I had imagined I would arrive at. Whatever the outcome in September, I will not vote for them again.
    Lynda

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26 Responses to Memory suggests that both Councillor Devon and Councillor …

    • 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.

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  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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