SNP Councillors Halved the Representation of Parents in the Planning of New City Schools

Laurie Bidwell

27 November 2012

I was disappointed that at the Policy and Resources Committee on Monday night, SNP Councillors conspired to vote for a reduction in parental representation on the Project Boards that will be planning the new schools in Coldside, Menzieshill and Strathmartine.

I think it is really important to have strong parental voices in these Planning Boards.

At the Policy and Resources Committee, I argued that we should retain having two members of the Parent Council of each school in the relevant Project Planning Board for the replacement schools and community facilities.

This would have been in line with what has been the practice at the Project Planning Boards for the Balgarthno (Lochee-Charleston) and West End shared campus replacement primary schools. 

I was disappointed that what had been proposed in the report to the committee was a reduction to one Parent Council member per school.

Despite my offering a constructive alternative to their proposal they would not budge.

I also pointed out to the Committee that when it comes to the appointment of head teachers, the law of Scotland provides that Parent Councils have a right to two members on an appointment committee selecting a new Head Teacher for their school.

So if it is good enough for head teacher appointments it should also be the continuing standard of representation for the Project Boards planning our new schools in the city.

I was pleased that the Committee agreed with my proposal to involve pupil council members of the project boards but I remain puzzled why the non Labour members of the Committee should want to reduce the participation of parents.

While the Committee Convener said that the Project Boards can use their discretion to bring more people on, I have my doubts that they will do this if so many Councillors have expressed this level of resistance to my proposal.