Author Archives: sosglasgow

SOSGlasgow bog – 2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

University of Glasgow protest: Police chief defends response

From STV News (video at link)

Click image for article on Glasgow Uni Climbdown.

The man in charge of the police response at the University of Glasgow protest has defended his officers after politicians and a student group criticised them for their ‘heavy handed’ response.

Superintendent Nelson Telfer made the comments to STV News following criticism from a former MSP, a Glasgow councillor and the Glasgow Student Representative Council over Tuesday’s protests.

Police were first called at around 10.30am by members of staff at the university. Staff there were dealing with the eviction of students who had been inside the Hetherington club for the past seven weeks. Over the next few hours, as the protesters left the inside of the building, the numbers of protesters outside swelled to around 150.

When asked if the police response – which is thought to have included around 80 officers, support vehicles and a helicopter – was disproportionate, Superintendent Telfer commented: “I would have to refute that in the strongest terms. Our officers’ response was proportionate to the situation and severe provocation that they sometimes faced today.

“I think it is of note there was only one arrest and that was after the incident. No people injured. No officers injured. In the strongest terms, I would say allegations of police brutality are absolute nonsense.”

Frances Curran, a former Scottish Socialist MSP, criticised the response. She said: “The deployment of at least 12 police vans, a force helicopter and large numbers of officers to enforce the cuts agenda of university principal Anton Muscatelli is scandalous misuse of police resources.

“This is surely a clear indication of the determination of the university and principal Muscatelli to bulldoze through his cuts agenda at any cost.”

Another to criticise was Martha Wardrop, a green councillor on Glasgow City Council. Backed up by party leader, Patrick Harvie MSP, she said: “Students occupying the Free Hetherington are taking part in a vital protest. I was disturbed to see police taking an active role in the attempted eviction, which served to inflame a volatile situation. I telephoned principal Muscatelli’s office to convey my views and explain that heavy-handed eviction attempts will only worsen relations between university management and the student body.”

The Glasgow Student Representative Council claimed that 80 police officers, 18 police vehicles and a police helicopter were at the scene.

‘Unacceptable’

Tommy Gore, president of the student group, said the presence of so many officers outside a university-owned property was “unacceptable”.

He added: “Whilst we support the university’s goal of turning the previously empty building into learning and teaching space, we cannot, in any way, see the justification for allowing such a disproportionally large amount of police onto our university campus.”

The protesters who had been inside the Hetherington club had been protesting against university principal Professor Muscatelli and proposed cuts of £20m at the university.

Postgraduate student Alice Coy was one of them. She said: “We’ve been occupying the building for seven weeks as part of an anti-cuts protest. We chose this building on purpose so that it was not an inconvenience to students as it closed a year ago.

“The security officers came in this morning to evict us, we’ve been given no warning. It’s very distressing and the university have been incredibly obstructive and refused to negotiate with us.”

The University of Glasgow, in a statement, said its security officers and Strathclyde Police were involved in evicting the students inside, as the building was due for refurbishment.

However, the university later retracted this statement, and police stressed they were not involved in any evictions.

A Glasgow University spokesperson said: “The University had previously written to the last remaining students occupying the Hetherington Building asking them to bring their protest to a peaceful conclusion. Since then, many students had left the occupation. But the continuing presence of occupiers in No 13 University Gardens was putting at risk plans the University has to refurbish the accommodation and to develop it for academic use.

“University staff entered 13 University Gardens this morning and asked the remaining occupiers to leave. The Police were then asked to attend when a group of protestors gathered outside. The occupiers left the building peacefully, and there were no serious incidents.

“In the afternoon a group of protestors has gathered in the vicinity of the University Senate Room. University staff are currently in discussion with them.”

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Billy Bragg joins Glasgow student occupation after gig

From the BBC

Billy Bragg had been performing at the Arches in Glasgow before he went to meet the students

Singer and activist Billy Bragg joined a student occupation at Glasgow University in protest over plans to cut or merge courses.

Mr Bragg headed to The Hetherington Research Club after a performance at The Arches in Glasgow on Friday.

He said on his website he took the students some beer and they chatted and debated until after midnight.

The university is currently seeking ways to address a funding deficit of £20m over the next three years.

Critics have accused management of trying to reshape the institution into a smaller money-making enterprise at the expense of academic quality.

The university has said it needed to respond to “unprecedented financial pressures”.

Mr Bragg told the BBC Scotland news website that the students at Glasgow University were not just campaigning about cuts but also about the “programme of trying to introduce the free market into education to the detriment of people who want to study humanities”.

“By making higher education only about things like business, we’re stifling those creative urges that have saved the economy in the past,” he said.

He told the students that he had been doing this type of resistance in the 1980’s.

He said this generation, by standing up for what matters, was showing the potential that people like him had waited a long time for.

Red Clydeside

One of the student occupiers said about 80 or 90 people had been at the club during Mr Bragg’s visit.

He said the singer turned up at about 2230 GMT and chatted for almost two hours to the students.

“He sang a song, chatted about his perspective and where he was coming from,” he said.

“It was mostly a friendly chat, but he wasn’t given an easy time of it – he had to give a robust analysis of his political stance.”

Mr Bragg who revised the words of the British version of The Internationale, an “anthem” of socialism, said he often stood up and sang the song at similar events.

“Usually people just listen to it, but last night when I stood on a table to sing it all these people sang along. They actually knew all the words,” he said.

“That was a new experience for me, so something’s changed.

“It reminded me of the great radical tradition in Glasgow. It plugged into the old Red Clydeside days. It gave me such a buzz.”

You must do better

From the Evening Times

Education bosses have promised to continue to support a failing Glasgow primary school criticised by inspectors.

Glasgow City Council spent £6.6million setting up Miller Primary, Castlemilk, three years ago.

Despite repeated criticism, teachers and administrators have failed to make improvements to bring the school up to standard.

A new report, based on an inspection carried out last November, contains further criticism.

It says that while attainment in writing has been boosted slightly, attendance is below average, pupils’ attainment in reading and maths is poor, and the school lacks direction.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education praised Glasgow City Council for giving “considerable support” to the school, but said this support is not being used effectively.

The curriculum was criticised and the inspectors said the school still lacked a sense of direction while the head teacher was criticised for not providing clear leadership to staff.

Miller Primary was first put under the microscope by experts in 2009 and rated “unsatisfactory” and “weak”.

Inspectors said they would revisit the school to ensure improvements were being made, but these have not been forthcoming.

Glasgow education bosses said today they would continue to monitor Miller Primary.

And in a letter to head teacher Linda Sommerville, seen by the Evening Times, head of education Maureen McKenna said she would be keeping a close eye on the school.

The letter said: “As you know, I am disappointed by this report. I had expected more progress by this stage. I will be closely monitoring your progress.”

The school’s first report, released in January 2009, gave Miller four “weak” ratings and one “unsatisfactory” rating – the lowest possible.

Inspectors were so concerned they arranged a follow-up inspection, but the results of that investigation showed Miller had failed to improve.

The school, which is a merger between Tormusk and Windlaw primaries, is on the same campus as Castlemilk Family Learning Centre.

 

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2010. That’s about 26 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 43 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 103 posts. There were 8 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 299kb.

The busiest day of the year was January 15th with 152 views. The most popular post that day was Parents occupy school in Lanarkshire.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, eastdunbartonshiressp.blogspot.com, mail.yahoo.com, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for scottish parliament, parliament, the scottish parliament, gartsherrie primary school, and save our schools.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Parents occupy school in Lanarkshire January 2010
3 comments

2

Scottish Parliament petition June 2009

3

St Matthew’s Primary – Wishaw January 2010
2 comments

4

Occupation – Gartsherrie Primary School in Coatbridge June 2010
1 comment

5

Labour Councillors April 2009

New Group Begins to Fight the Cuts

Click image for link

Glasgow Against Education Cuts is a new group that aims to bring together students and staff from all Glasgow’s schools, colleges and universities who are opposed to cuts.

We aim to meet at least every couple of weeks in order to plan joint action and mobilise for mass demonstrations and direct action. We also want to start educating ourselves about why the cuts are taking place, how we can stop them, and how we can develop an alternative model of education.

The group has been set up after the inspirational national day of action against cuts and fees on November 24th. In Glasgow, this saw students walk out of university, to be joined by college students and spontaneously organised school strikes from across the city.

Now we want to bring all these groups together to begin developing a real alternative. Over the next two weeks we’ll be travelling around Glasgow to try and get as many people involved in our next meeting as possible. Look forward to seeing posters and flyers in your place of education. We need your help to spread the word any way you can – invite every student or staff member you know. We’ll have materials uploaded here soon which you can download and print off for use where you are. Let us know how you get on in the comments!

Although the group is focused primarily on education for now, we stand in solidarity with everyone affected by the cuts, and welcome participation from anyone who’s interested – you don’t have to be a student or staff member to come along, and we’d very much welcome communication and support from everyone fighting back against the government.

In the meantime, we want you to let us know what you think the group should be doing. How can we resist the cuts to our education? How can we develop our own alternative models of education? What skills can you offer to help? How can you help build Glasgow Against Education Cuts?

NEXT MEETING: MONDAY DECEMBER 13TH, 5.30pm, CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS, 350 SAUCHIEHALL STREET

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Vodafone shut down in Glasgow

#UKuncut

Each teaching post ‘chased by 17 applicants’

From the BBC

Every teaching vacancy in Scotland is being chased by an average of 17 applicants, according to official figures.

The competition for the posts varied from 49 for each job in Stirling to three per vacancy in Shetland.

The Liberal Democrats, who obtained the details through freedom of information requests, said the figures showed teachers’ talents were “being wasted”.

Education Secretary Michael Russell said the numbers were “a concern”.

In total, 75,579 applications were made for 4,520 vacancies in 2009-10 – an average of about 17 for each position.

The average number of applications per job included 14 in Aberdeenshire, 21 in Dundee, 27 in Edinburgh and six in Glasgow.

Aberdeen City Council said it did not hold the details.

Higher numbers included 47 in Midlothian, 37 in East Renfrewshire and 33 in North Lanarkshire.

Lower averages per job included five in the Western Isles, four in Dumfries and Galloway, five in Orkney and 10 in Moray.

‘Reduce competition’

Lib Dem education spokeswoman Margaret Smith said the figures “will be deeply concerning for teachers”.

She added: “The SNP said they would maintain the record number of teachers they inherited from the previous executive but teacher numbers are down by 3,000.

“Scotland’s young people are also missing out on the opportunity to learn from newly-trained, enthusiastic teachers who have a wealth of talent and skill, being wasted as they struggle to find jobs.”

Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “The difficulties faced by teachers looking for a post is a concern.

“Scotland is already unique in guaranteeing a year’s employment after graduation from initial teacher education, but we want to do more and we are examining ways we can provide further help.

“While recent figures show that teacher unemployment is lower in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, we are still working hard to address the issue and have cut student intake, which will reduce competition for jobs.”

Must try harder

From Brian Taylor (BBC)

Good start but must try harder.

That will undoubtedly be the verdict of the opposition parties upon the latest plan for class sizes. Or at least the more polite and restrained among them.

More to the point, it will be Michael Russell’s verdict upon his own scheme. He knows, he knows, that, as it stands, it falls short of the SNP’s manifesto promise.

In summary, the education secretary is proposing to place a lower legal limit on the size of classes in Primary One.

The new limit, at 25, is designed to assist schools in capping class sizes where they face placing requests from parents. It will apply from 2011/12.

In confirming the policy, Mr Russell insisted that the SNP government would continue to pursue the manifesto objective of cutting class sizes to 18 or fewer in P1 to P3.

The contrast between aim and actuality, he said, was driven by “very difficult financial circumstances.”

It remained open to individual councis to strive for the 18 target, deploying the “flexibility” inherent in the government’s revised approach.

Broadly, Mr Russell’s opponents will say to the electorate: “They promised. They failed.”

Broadly, SNP Ministers will say to the electorate: “We promised. We made real progress in difficult circumstances. We will make more progress.”

As ever, their pitch, your choice.

Teachers’ union slams plans to close South Lanarkshire primary schools

From East Kilbride News

THE country’s largest teaching union has condemned proposals which could see up to a dozen local primary schools closed.

As exclusively reported in last week’s News, South Lanarkshire Council are proposing to close and merge several schools.

The council now look set to consult on the proposed closures as budget cuts will probably hit plans to replace or upgrade every primary school in the area.

Commenting on the school closures, Bill Ramsay, South Lanarkshire local association secretary of the EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union said: “These school closures in South Lanarkshire, which will be replicated all over the country in the coming years, are the beginning of the biggest contradiction in public services since the 1930s.

We in the EIS ask why must our children pay for other people’s mistakes? Why must the new Government choose a path of austerity budgets to deal with the economic crisis?

There is an alternative economic strategy which the EIS, indeed the whole trade union movement and even some politicians, are prepared to consider.”

If the proposals were to go ahead it would see Auldhouse Primary and Sandford Primary close altogether and move in with existing schools – as well as several mergers.

Those affected would be Hunter, Long Calderwood, Canberra, East Milton, South Park, Murray, Heathery Knowe, St Louise and Our Lady of Lourdes primaries.

Four new schools would be built to accommodate pupils from these schools.

The News also understands job losses are likely. However, as the council operate a no compulsory redundancies policy, they are likely to be met by voluntary means.

As part of The Schools (Consultation) Scotland Act 2010, which came into effect in April, everyone from parents, pupils, community groups, trade unions and education bodies require to be consulted.

The proposals will go before the council’s Executive Committee today (Wednesday) when councillors will decide whether or not to go ahead with consultation on the proposals.

Last week when the News revealed the proposals, a spokeswoman for South Lanarkshire Council said the schools’ modernisation review – into how best to deliver on their aim of ensuring all primary school children have access to modern accommodation – was complete.

The council this week had no further comment to make ahead of today’s executive committee meeting.