Comment posted Argyll Rural Schools Network puts all candidates to the test on rural schools by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll.
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!
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.
- 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.
- oh and also George Freeman obviously.
Recent comments by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll
- SNP Chairs and Members of Westminster Committees
I don’t have a problem with someone of Mhairi Black’s age being elected. I don’t think it can do politics any harm whatsoever to have some elected members who can better represent the aspirations of a more youthful section of society. I would have concerns if there was an excessive number of younger of politicians say in their twenties but it is highly unlikely that will ever be the case.
Would she have been elected if the SNP were not on such an upswing nationally? Probably not but you could say that about a lot of the other SNP MPs elected (and also of a lot of Labour ones in the past when Labour were the dominant party in Scotland).
She was heavily criticised during the campaign for some of the remarks he made about drinking (was it alcopops?) but that never really bothered me. She was still a student and if there two things that tend to happen at university it is drinking and hangovers! I also think too much was made of her remarks about Celtic – it wasn’t sectarianism if I recall correctly – it was just a few choice words on twitter – what percentage of people in the world use that sort of language from time to time, especially in their youth!
The head-butt remark was stupid and I doubt she will make that mistake again. It was borne out of frustration and naivety and she didn’t help herself by going on about No voters being selfish and gullible. However there are plenty of more experienced politicians who have mad similar remarks about No voters – not to mention posters on here who seem to think being a No voter makes you less Scottish, a very childish position to take.
However I wouldn’t want to put young people off an interest in becoming a politician by their mistakes when they are in their late teens or early twenties being used as a club to beat them with.
I do think her position on the Work & Pensions Select Committee is odd and maybe ill advised. I think, there are other committees where an inexperienced politician and person (and I mean that purely in terms of her age, not as a statement on her potential ability) might be better placed initially.
- Motion sends Scottish Parliament’s condolences on death of Sir Nicholas Winton, the British Schindler
It is quite amazing that he never made his actions public – they were only discovered by chance by his wife about 25 years ago. A remarkable man. Very fitting and just that he got to live a very long and full life.
- SNP Chairs and Members of Westminster Committees
There is a chuckle to be allowed at the fact that Jim Murphy was regularly criticised by SNP supporters for being a career politician who had no experience of working and now we have an SNP MP with no experience of working sitting on the ‘Work & Pensions Committee!
No criticism of Mhairi Black intended and I hope she does a great job. Just highlighting yet another case of total hypocrisy amongst ardent political party supporters.
- SNP alerts infantry to prepare to hunt out Carmichael
I tend to agree with JB on this. Alastair Carmichael did wrong, of that there is no doubt. I personally think he should stand down (but there are a few other politicians in all parties who should have done the same in the past and haven’t). However I just don’t see how pushing for this court case is merited given the other much more important priorities in Scotland right now.
The crowd fund is sitting at round about £60k just now (which was the target) – if this goes to full trial then that isn’t going to touch the sides of the total bill – it would surprise me greatly if the total bill (for both sides added together) ended up being south of £300k. Where that money is going to come from I am don’t know. The Lib Dems are refusing to comment on whether they are picking up Alastair Carmichael’s bill, who is going to be picking up the ‘people’s final bill if it does go to a full and length trial?
Yes we want fair and honest politics and yes we are not getting it. We didn’t get it from Carmichael but we also don’t get it from Tories, Labour or the SNP (and you can add other parties to the list at will). There are liars and cheats in every party, some on ‘lesser’ issues, some on greater issues. Those pushing for this wearing their SNP badges, including the main petition leaders, are blinded by party loyalty and the stench of hypocrisy is quite foul. All parties need to clean their act up but the ‘outrage’ at this particular incident whilst whistling innocently with a ‘nothing to see here’ attitude to their own ‘houses’ is a bit pathetic.
- Council cuts teacher numbers – without consultation – at Sandbank Gaelic Medium Unit
Whether it is in ‘crisis’ is debatable and is possibly overly dramatic language however Angela Constance herself has admitted that standards in literacy and numeracy are falling and Nicola Sturgeon whilst denying the Scottish education system is failing has admitted it isn’t doing well enough.
I think we can all acknowledge that politicians (of all parties) exaggerate their successes and downplay their failings so you can consider what Constance and Sturgeon are ‘admitting’ within that context.
powered by SEO Super Comments