Education

Below you will find a series of responses Kezia has received from Government Ministers, Councillors/Council Officials and relevant agences following representations she has made to them about education services.

If you would like Kezia to raise an issue on your behalf - get in touch.

Reply from Alasdair Allan on Music Provision for Children with Additional Support Needs

Kezia was recently contacted by a constituent in regards to there being no support for children with additional support needs who wish to continue with music lessons when they enter secondary school. You can read the Minister’s full response by clicking on the link above.

Reply from Aileen Campbell on Fisherrow Nursery

Kezia was contacted by a constituent concerned about the future of Fisherrow Nursery following changes in funding pursued by the local authority. Kezia wrote to Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell asking what assistance the Scottish Government could provide. You can read the Minister’s full reply by clicking on the link above.

Alasdair Allan on music tuition for children with additional support needs

Following concerns from constituents about the lack of music provision for children with additional support needs, Kezia wrote to the Scottish Government asking what they would do to make music tuition an opportunity open to all. Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages Alasdair Allan replied detailing the work of the Instrumental Music Group in this area, and its recently published report. You can read the Minister’s full response by clicking on the link above.

 

Alasdair Allan response regarding cyberbullying  

Kezia contacted Alasdair Allan about the troubling issue of cyberbullying that some young people are subjected to. This reply outlines the stance of the Scottish Government regarding the issue of cyberbullying and its affect on young people.

Construction and Joinery courses to change location within newly merged Edinburgh College

The relocation of the college campus has raised a range of issues from concerns over lack of student attendance, to staff and stakeholder unrest, to the potential economic impact that this may have on the Dalkeith area.  After raising a motion on the 27 Feb 2013, Kezia asked SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie to join her in signing it.  Colin has declined to sign the same motion but has proposed one of his own.  Kezia’s motion is as below and if you would like to read Colin’s response to this along with his alternative motion, simply click on the heading above.

Motion S4M-05757: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/02/2013 Impact of Regionalisation on Colleges in Midlothian
That the Parliament notes Edinburgh College’s decision to move its construction and joinery courses from Dalkeith to Granton; understands that this decision comes four years after the installation of multimillion pound facilities at the campus in Dalkeith; believes that people will be deterred from signing up for these courses; considers that the added commuting time will disproportionately impact on people who fund their studies with a part-time job; believes that the free bus service being offered is helpful, but that this will not ultimately alleviate concerns; considers that the move will have an adverse impact on employment in the Dalkeith area; understands that there was no formal consultation process and believes that, as a result, the college has failed in its duty to students, staff and external stakeholders, and calls for a formal consultation to be carried out and for the results of this to be taken into account before a final decision is made.

Michael Russell response regarding Bulgarian and Romanian students

Kezia contacted Mike Russell about Bulgarian and Romanian students and their status as students within the UK. In response Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, stated the stance of the Scottish Government on immigration and the steps being taken to discuss immigration issues with the UK Government.

Mike Russell MSP on Student Support

Kezia wrote to Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare, regarding a gap in financial support for college students which dissuades many from applying for further education. Mike Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, responded.

Construction and Joinery courses to change location within newly merged Edinburgh College

The relocation of the college campus has raised a range of issues from concerns over lack of student attendance, to staff and stakeholder unrest, to the potential economic impact that this may have on the Dalkeith area.  After raising a motion on the 27 Feb 2013, Kezia asked SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie to join her in signing it.  Colin has declined to sign the same motion but has proposed one of his own.  Kezia’s motion is as below and if you would like to read Colin’s response to this along with his alternative motion, simply click on the heading above.

Motion S4M-05757: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/02/2013 Impact of Regionalisation on Colleges in Midlothian
That the Parliament notes Edinburgh College’s decision to move its construction and joinery courses from Dalkeith to Granton; understands that this decision comes four years after the installation of multimillion pound facilities at the campus in Dalkeith; believes that people will be deterred from signing up for these courses; considers that the added commuting time will disproportionately impact on people who fund their studies with a part-time job; believes that the free bus service being offered is helpful, but that this will not ultimately alleviate concerns; considers that the move will have an adverse impact on employment in the Dalkeith area; understands that there was no formal consultation process and believes that, as a result, the college has failed in its duty to students, staff and external stakeholders, and calls for a formal consultation to be carried out and for the results of this to be taken into account before a final decision is made.

Robin Parker on the ‘Fund Scotland’s Future’ Campaign

Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland wrote to Kezia offering thanks for the support she gave to the ‘Fund Scotland’s Future’ campaign; he wished to comment that though the campaign was not as successful as he had hoped, it did have some success and he wished to express his thanks for all that Kezia did in support.

Derek McKay on Portobello High School

Kezia wrote to the Scottish Government asking them to consider all possible avenues to support City of Edinburgh Council’s plans to build the new Portobello High School on Portobello Park. One of the options Kezia asked the Scottish Government to explore was the its power to “advance well-being” under the 2003 Local Government Act. The Scottish Government’s response is available in the above link.

Diploma in Legal Practice Funding

Following a debate on support for law students studying the postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Kezia asked Mike Russell - Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning - about support of diploma students, particularly the points raised in the debate including how such support aids social mobility and access to the legal profession. His reply, in which he claims resources are not available to fund students, can be found here.

Cyberbullying

This letter from Alasdair Allan outlines what networks and mechanisms the Government currently has in place to deal with cyberbullying , particularly amongst young people.  Mr Allan also outlines research which is currently being undertaken and declines a meeting with Kezia at this stage to discuss cyberbullying.

College Mergers

Kezia wrote to Michael Russell MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, on the subject of the proposed merger between Stevenson, Telford and Jewel and Esk Colleges.

John Swinney on Scottish Teacher Superannuation Scheme

Following a large amount of correspondence from concerned teachers, Kez got in touch with John Swinney to raise concerns she has about the effects of higher contributions and lower returns which his new scheme was passing on to teachers.  It appears that as a result of Labour pressure, the Finance secretary has conceeded and begun meaningful discussions with teachers’ unions.

Mike Russell on Drug and Alcohol Education

Following a recent joint Cross Party Group on the issue of Parental Drug and Alcohol Misuse, Kezia wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Education Michael Russell asking him to detail how the Curriculum for Excellence helps young people cope with the drug and alcohol problems of their parents. His response is accessible by clicking on the above link.

Scottish Teacher Superannuation Scheme

Kezia was contacted by many concerned constituents about the changes being made to teachers’ pensions in Scotland.  Kezia wrote to Mike Russell, pointing out geniuine concerns about his approach to this issue, particularly around negociatons.  His response is attached above, and it appears that following pressure from Labour MSPs, Mr Russell has recognised his responsabilities and has entered into negociations.

Mike Russell on Student Support

After the SNP has suggested cutting college support, Kez was compelled to write to Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance to protest at its potentially disasterous effect.  A response from Education Secretary Mike Russell on the outcome of the issue can be read here.

Edinburgh Schools Combatting Sectarianism

Kezia wrote to Edinburgh City Council to ask what provisions they had made to tackle sectarianism in schools.  The response she received can be read here.

Rebuilding Portobello High School

Kezia wrote to The City of Edinburgh Council Convener on Education, Children and Families Cllr Marilyne MacLaren about the pace of rebuilding Portobello High School.  In this reply, she states that delays have come about due to complaints about the location of the new school, and also sent a copy of the School’s september newsletter.

Mike Russell on student travel expenses

Acting on correspondence from a constituent Kezia wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mike Russell MSP, highlighting concerns about changes in travel  expenses funding arrangements.  The Cabinet Secretary’s reply is linked here.

Alasdair Allan on Activity Agreements

Kezia is concerned at the lack of opportunities for school leavers and the high numbers who do not make it into ‘positive desinations’ (employment, education or training).  She has pressed the Minister for information on the success of Activity Agreements, which are designed to help young people.  His response can be read here.

Edinburgh City Council on School Leaver Destinations

Kezia has been working hard to increase the opportunities for young people coming out of school with no education, employment or training to go into. Above you will find the latest response from the Council which carries some good news about additional funding.

Letter from Alasdair Allan about Young Peoples’ Opportunities

I wrote to the Minister for Learning and Skills Alasdair Allan about different opportunities available to young adults, particularly Vodaphone’s ‘Lifetracks Programme’, Activity Agreements and National Training Programmes.  his response can be found here.

Michael Russell on the pay and conditions of teachers

A number of constituents have been in touch about protecting the pay and conditions of teachers, who face a real terms pay freeze for the next two years. You can read Michael Russell’s response above.

Michael Russell on Rest of UK Fees

After posting this previous letter,  a number of students expressed their concerns about the Government’s proposals on Higher Education fees for undergraduate students from the rest of the UK. Kezia wrote back to the Minister and you can read what he had to say.

School leaver destinations

In March of 2011 a report produced by Skills Development Scotland said that Edinburgh City Council had the worst “school leaver destinations” of any local authority in Scotland. That means that Edinburgh had more pupils (in % terms) leaving school with education, employment or training opportunities to go to than any other council in Scotland. This is an issue Kezia has been working very closely on over the summer. Here are two responses to her investigations one from the Learning & Skills Minister, Alasdair Allan – the other from Education Convener of Edinburgh City Council, Marilyn MacLaren.

Emergency Life Skills for all pupils?

Following a series of campaign emails from constituents, Kezia wrote to Edinburgh City Council Education Convener Marilyn MacLaren seeking her views on the provision of Emergency Life skills education for pupils.

Education Secretary’s Response to Sexual Health Education

Curriculum for Excellence gives teachers and schools more freedom to chose what they teach and how they teach it. That is very much to be welcomed, but also creates some concern about how things such as sex education will be taught. Recent figures have shown that just 52% of teachers who teach SE are trained to do so. Kezia wrote to the Education Secretary asking him to comment on these figures.

Michael Russell on Rest of UK Tuition Fees

Kezia write to Education Secretary Michael Russell on the issue of tuition fees for non-Scottish students studying in Scotland, here’s the Minister’s response.

Mike Russell response to the teaching of Eastern European Languages

A number of students have been in touch concerned about cuts to teaching of Eastern European languages in Scottish Universities at a time when they are arguably needed the most. The Education Secretary’s response is above.

 

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