Tag Archives: Jean McFadden

Council rivals unite to stop school closing

Evening Times
THREE Labour councillors have struck an alliance with SNP rivals in an attempt to overturn a decision by the city council on the closure of a special needs school in Glasgow.

The move sees three members of the ruling administration in the north of the city join forces with two Nationalists to use city council procedures to thwart the plans to integrate children at the Gadburn school into a nearby mainstream primary.

The Labour councillors, including Gerry Leonard, a major party figure in the Springburn area, and their SNP rivals are upset that the head of education, Cllr Jean McFadden, is alleged to have said only a Nationalist elected member raised an objection to the plans.

Mr Leonard and colleagues Gilbert Davidson and Catherine McMaster dispute this and have signed up to the SNP plan to have last month’s decision revisited.

They claim the education department has been too hasty in its plans to shut Gadburn and that most parents are fearful of the impact of integration with a mainstream primary on their children.

We have been talking to parents to get a workable plan
Instead, they have been championing a joint campus with Barmulloch Primary.

Under council rules, five elected members are required to sign a “call-in” notice to have the decision revisited.

It is understood this is the first time there has been a clear bipartisan strategy involving Labour members to undo an administration decision.

Councillor Grant Thoms, who instigated the call-in, said: “The education department is being too hasty at attempting to close Gadburn Special School.

“Councillors have been talking to parents to get a workable plan so the two schools could share the same building in Germiston but keep their separate identities.

“I have no doubt co-location is the way forward to give parents and pupils time to adjust to such a drastic change.

A council spokeswoman said: “A call-in allows scrutiny and enables local elected members to support their constituents.”

School closure plans ‘called in’

If anyone can tell us why the government couldn’t ‘call in’ the closure of the 22 schools last year, but can call in these closures, please let us know.

From the BBC

Plans by Scotland’s largest council to close three schools have been “called in” by the Scottish government.

Education Secretary Mike Russell made the decision after education inspectors voiced concerns over the moves by Glasgow City Council.

The proposed closures of Stonedyke Primary, St Joan of Arc School and St Aidan’s School have now been halted.

Glasgow City Council said the call in was a “political decision” taken for “bogus reasons”.

The authority has been asked to provide more information to allow ministers to make a final decision.

Stonedyke Primary teaches youngsters from the Drumchapel and Summerhill areas of the city.

Under the council’s plans, pupils would transfer to two other primary schools.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) said there were a “number of issues to be addressed by the council” before it would be clear that the move would have educational benefits.

St Joan of Arc and St Aidan’s schools cater for youngsters aged 11 to 18 with additional support needs, with both schools having a number of pupils with autism.

Under the plans, most of these students would go to a new school, with a few transferring to a small specialist unit in John Paul Academy in Glasgow.

An HMIE report said: “Given the relative lack of detail about proposed modifications, it is presently difficult to be sure that the council’s proposal will lead to improvements in the educational experience of, and outcomes for, young people who are currently in St Aidan’s and St Joan of Arc.”

Speaking about his decision to call in the closure plans, Mr Russell said: “I do not believe the educational benefits of the proposal are set out in sufficient detail, as HMIE make clear in their reports and I have therefore decided this proposal requires further scrutiny.

Minister ’embarrassed’

“In each of these three schools, education inspectors have raised concerns over Glasgow City Council’s plans. These concerns are focused on how the education of the pupils will be improved in their new schools.

“In their official report into the plans, the inspectors have called on Glasgow to provide more information. It is right and proper that we take the time to allow this information to be provided and considered before allowing the closure to go ahead.”

Councillor Jean McFadden, executive member for education at Glasgow City Council, said: “This is an entirely political decision which has been taken for entirely bogus reasons.

“The minister is desperately thrashing around looking for something to cover his understandable embarrassment about Crossroads Primary in Ayrshire.”

Councillor McFadden’s comments refer to the Scottish government’s decision not to call in the closure of Crossroads Primary by East Ayrshire Council.

The move was criticised by the Rural Schools Network who said the closure “flew in the face” of laws created to protect smaller schools.

Cronyism – Follow up

Thanks go to Gerry Braiden at the Herald for taking the time sift through the bewilderingly complex details of these quangos.

As an exercise in Blairite civic reform the theory was simple: crack the city state of Glasgow and the rest would fall into line, domino style.

But rather than blaze the trail for Scotland, the creation of arm’s-length companies by the nation’s largest authority has raised more questions about accountability and transparency than provide solutions for weathering the economic crisis or, indeed, providing a model for 21st century public services.

Following revelations that former leader Steven Purcell, who resigned amid blackmail fears and admissions of alcohol and drug abuse, used his network of Aleos to buy the support of friends, colleagues and even some dissidents, it has now emerged that he and his councillor colleagues set their own salaries for sitting on their boards.

When setting up the Aleos, a group including elected members and department officials, would look at what councillors were receiving from sitting on outside bodies such as the SECC, health or fire boards and what the special responsibility allowances – since scrapped for being overused and untenable – were paying. From that they would arrive at a figure they believed best reflected the responsibilities being undertaken in the new Aleo. This would then be approved by the council’s head of finance.

More at heraldscotland

“The sheer weight of numbers means Labour always has the ultimate veto but there is a valid argument that all parties have been complicit.”

Brilliant! Absolutely magnificent!

Because all the parties are involved there’s less chance of it getting sorted, if at all. What a shower of ********!