Candidate response to Argyll Rural Schools Network

Councillor Donald Kelly of the Argyll First group, Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate standing for election in South Kintyre on 3rd May, has sent us a copy of the response he has made to the Argyll Rural Schools Network (ARSN).

ARSN has requested all candidates to endorse a commitment they have drafted to opening dialogue on a new vision for rural education in Argyll and Bute, including a presumption against the closure of rural schools.

Donald Kelly says:

‘Having been heavily involved for the past eleven years fighting the corner for viable Rural schools I fully support the ARSN statement.

‘Argyll First have been the only group on the Council to take a totally consistent view regarding the retention of Rural schools.

We must campaign to encourage  RSLs  (Ed: Registered Social landlords – like ACHA and Fyne Homes) to start building new houses in many of our small villages thereby sustaining our Rural communities.’

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14 Responses to Candidate response to Argyll Rural Schools Network

  1. Sorry to disagree with Cllr Donald Kelly but the Argyll & Bute Independent Councillors Group (NOT THE ALLIANCE OF INDEPENDENTS) has also taken a totally consistent view regarding the retention of rural schools since the Group was fist set up. Many readers will recall that my support for rural schools cost me dearly, both politically and financially.

    So Cllr Kelly’s statement that “Argyll First has been the only group on the Council to take a totally consistent view regarding the retention of rural scools” is incorrect.

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    • They have indeed – and this applies to the stance and voting of both Councillor Freeman and Councillor Gordon Chalmers of Mull, before as well as after they came together to form the Argyll and Bute Independent Councillors Group.

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  2. Sadly it’s not just the pupils of rural schools who are treated with disregard by Argyll & Bute Council. John Logie Baird Primary is a school in crisis. There has been no head teacher for some time, despite advertising the post 9 months ago. As a result the school is in a complete downward spiral. This has resulted in a mass exodus of pupils to other schools, which seem to be overwhelmed, with Hermitage Primary having to create a whole new class to cope. I’m astonished that the area’s councillor, Ellen Morton, in her capacity as spokesperson for education and lifelong learning has not intervened.

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    • An interesting tale gd – out of interest do you know the approximate number of outward placement requests in this 9 month period compared to a similar period of time in previous years.

      One thing ARSN advocates is that the Council act quickly when outward placement requests start to rise disproportionately and potentially threaten the sustainability of a school. This doesn’t mean they should jump to consider school closure as a first step – rather that they should take action to try and identify and correct the root cause – in essence take the necessary action to avoid closure rather than promote closure.

      That a school in one of the urban territories of A&B is facing this makes for interesting reading as it will be more difficult for the Council to promote closure of a school in an area where there is more than a ‘pesky little community’ to consider.

      I am also a little surprised that Cllr Morton seems unwilling to take action on this – not because of any inherent decency but more because of the potential for political fall out which could imapct upon her and her fellow Helensburgh Lib Dems.

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  3. I have to comment that Rosneath does not require more social housing for families, it already has plenty but does urgently require purpose build housing for the elderly. We are awaiting the start of a housing development by link housing yet Rosneath with a healthy and growing population was still short listed for school closure. A change in rural housing policy which gives priority to housing locals (instead of importing unemployed from other areas) so that our youngsters are not forced to move away would be a start…

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  4. I’m not sure of the outward placing request numbers of JLB and can only speak from the perspective of a parent with children at Hermitage Primary. I know Hermitage has always had a number of primary 1 placing requests from outwith the catchment area, because of it’s reputation and from what I’ve heard this year’s future primary 1 is in line with the norm. But it is the huge influx of JLB pupils to Hermitage at all levels over the past 6 months that is particularly alarming. A new primary 6 class had to be created at Hermitage last term to cope with the additional students and seemingly JLB had a composite primary 2/3 class that is no more. Just from chatting to mums at the school gates, I know of 20 kids who have transferred to Hermitage from JLB and I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Thankfully Hermitage is a well run school and seems to be coping with the challenge at the moment. But that is purely down to the outstanding leadership of the head teacher.
    The fact that a fairly large Helensburgh school is failing so spectacularly, clearly conflicts with Argyll & Bute’s theory that bigger is better.

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  5. So, to get back to the topic, Cllr Freeman of the Argyll & Bute Independent Councillors Group* are you calling Cllr Totnald** Kelly a liar? Or is he just mistaken? (again)

    * All two of you, what vote against each other on things like the budget and therefore cancel each other out…

    **The Galelic pronunciation ;)

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  6. Scruff – that’s a wee secret ;)

    Want me to tell you when the interviews are?

    And the folks being interviewed??

    And the interview panel???

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  7. Scruff, don’t believe everything you read on these pages mate. Even Newise, who writes half the rubbish, doesn’t do that.

    Have a good evening :)

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