Adding a Pupil and Parental Voice on the Education Committee

24 May 2012  

Laurie Bidwell

I have written to Leader of the Administration, Ken Guild, whose position was confirmed at the Council meeting on Monday night 21st March 2012.

While all eyes at the meeting were on which Councillors were made Lord Provost  and Committee Conveners, the Council was also invited to approve the two trade union and three religious representatives that are also members of the Education Committee. 

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that children and young people have a right to have their views taken into account in decisions made about matters that affect them

At a time when the engaging the voice of our young people in decision making is being considered and we have a Dundee Youth Council and the City wide Pupil Council, is it not time we took one more step further by inviting a nominee from our senior school pupils to join us in the Education Committee? 

Scottish Labour in
Dundee were convinced of the merit of this idea and put this in our manifesto for the local government elections.

We proposed that the Education Committee should co-opt a parent representing the citywide group of Chairpersons of Parent Councils together with a senior pupil nominated by the City wide Pupil Council.

I would think there should be cross party support for this because two senior pupils were invited to join the Education Review Group by the last Education Convener and of course the SNP have been arguing for the inclusion of 16 year old voters in the forthcoming referendum on the  proposed separation of Scotland from the UK.

Likewise there are compelling reasons for a stronger parental voice on the Education Committee.

I have already checked with the Head of Legal and Democratic Services on the Council and he has confirmed that there is no legal impediment to what I have proposed.

I didn't want to be divisive so I wrote to Ken Guild to propose this and invite him to bring forward a proposal to the Council meeting yesterday or the next Education Committee on 25 June or the next Education Committee on Monday 25 June.

In his reply to me Councillor Guild thanked me for my email and said:

"I am not hostile to the proposals which I think could be looked at as a review of the business of the Education Committee.   

“I have asked officers to gather information concerning non-elected membership of Education Committees or their equivalent in other Scottish local authorities."

 

   

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