Scott reveals almost 100 school leadership vacancies

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott has today revealed that at the start of the latest school term, almost 100 head teacher and deputy head teacher positions were still being advertised.

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws from 26 of Scotland's 32 local authorities show 92 senior leadership roles vacant, including 17 in Aberdeen and 12 in Glasgow as well as more than 500 class and principal teacher vacancies.

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Water Charges Threaten Sustainability of Community Halls

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott and Voluntary Action Shetland are highlighting the serious financial pressure Shetland’s community halls are under following changes to the Scottish Government’s Water & Sewerage Exemption Scheme. Mr Scott will question the Government in Parliament this Thursday on whether it carried out an Islands Impact Assessment prior to the changes.

Under the previous scheme community halls were exempt from all charges but with the end of transition measures following a review in 2015, and with changes to the way charges are calculated, some community halls holding a permanent alcohol licence are now liable to pay water and sewerage charges of almost £2,000.

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Islanders urged to take part in consultation on 4G "notspots"

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott is calling on islanders fed up with poor mobile coverage to take part in a Scottish consultation on 4G "notspots".

The Government is consulting on 100 potential sites to be included in a programme to deploy 4G to areas without any mobile network coverage. There are 2 potential sites identified in Shetland, one in Foula and one on the Westside, and members of the public are invited to provide evidence of other notspots for consideration.

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Scott on FOI action plan

Commenting on the publication of the Scottish Government’s action plan to improve its FOI performance, Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said:

“The question journalists and MSPs want answered is whether our requests for information will be fairly dealt with in the future.

“The SNP do not like answering difficult questions so time and time again, MSPs have to resort to FoI as obfuscation is taken to new levels by our government. We then found that SNP political advisors, paid for by the taxpayer, were neutering these answers.

“All this must be swept away. That will be the acid test of whether this Action Plan works. Perhaps we should all begin by using FoI to discover what we can about the process leading up to the publication of the Action Plan.”

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Scott contacts Scottish Ministers over "unacceptable" freight delays

Salmon worth £1 million was left in Lerwick, rather than being shipped south yesterday (Tuesday). Following Wednesday's meeting of hauliers, the seafood sector and Serco Northlink, which Shetland MSP Tavish Scott attended, he is arranging to speak with Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson. 

The Stewart Building Transport Group want extra freight capacity introduced immediately otherwise salmon and whitefish will continue to be left in Lerwick rather than shipped south. This is despite the best efforts of Northlink whose work was praised by the industry today. 

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“Decommissioning News Good for Shetland” say Scott and Carmichael

Tavish Scott MSP and Alistair Carmichael MP have welcomed the announcement that more decommissioning work will be coming to Shetland as contracts are announced by Veolia Peterson and Allseas. 

They have also welcomed the release of a Scottish Government study that has identified Dales Voe as the ideal location for the UK’s first Ultra-Deep port for dismantling oil and gas installations.

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FM refuses to confirm she would respect will of parliament over P1 testing

Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott has today condemned comments from the First Minister suggesting that if the Scottish Parliament voted for the abolition of national tests for P1s she may not respect the results of the vote.

Speaking in response to a question from Tavish at First Minister's Questions asking whether the Government would respect a parliamentary vote to scrap the tests, Nicola Sturgeon said: "We'll continue to make the case for what we are doing."

 

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Swinney “side-stepping” massive problems in Scottish education

In response to John Swinney’s statements on the state of Scottish education to the Education Committee and Parliament today, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP said:

“The SNP side-stepped the massive problems with education in the Programme for Government and have failed to convince anyone it’s their number one priority.

"After a decade in power they appear to have done a decade's worth of damage. The Education Secretary needs to act urgently to give teachers a better deal, reassure parents and end the time-wasting practice of testing five-year-olds."

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National testing review a “blatant spin document”

Responding to the publication of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments User Review Year 1, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP commented:

“Parents and teacher will be horrified at this blatant spin document from ministers. The report makes it clear right from the start that ministers will carry on regardless.

“Page after page backs up our concerns that some children have been unable to manage the technology to take the tests. Schools have had to use senior pupils and staff to sit in with younger children. Teachers are questioning the value of the tests.

“Despite all the concerns,  the government’s solution is to ask the same test questions but in a different order.

“These tests for P1 children have been shown up as time-consuming, confusing and of limited value. The SNP are carrying on regardless. We say they should stop the P1 tests. We want a vote at Holyrood to force ministers to see the sense in halting them.

"Young children in Scotland deserve better than being treated as another experiment for ministers."

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Scott: SNP Government turns into testing bully

Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott today said the SNP Government has resorted to "throwing its weight around like a playground bully" after it was revealed it has now instructed local authorities to deny parents' requests to withdraw their children from national testing.

The instruction was contained in a letter to council education directors published by TES Scotland. The Scottish Government stated that "parents don't have the option to opt out of the assessments" except in "exceptional circumstances".

This flatly contradicts the advice previously given by the Scottish Government and testing bosses to parents. For example, a freedom of information request showed the top testing official telling Glasgow City Council in March that "With respect to parental rights to withdraw, your parents is [sic] right that there is no legal requirement to sit the SNSA. On that basis the children can be withdrawn."

The new letter states that the Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland (SOLAR) was of the view that that parents have no right to withdraw their children but it did not say whether the Scottish Government, the architect and driver of the national testing regime, had sought or received its own legal advice.

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