Tag Archives: save our schools

School axe battle blow as MSPs back closure

From the Evening Times

A long-running campaign to save the East Renfrewshire school gathered huge support

1 Sep 2011

Parents’ hopes of saving a closure-threatened school have been dashed after Scottish ministers backed a decision to shut the primary.

Hundreds of parents demonstrated against the closure of Robslee Primary School in Giffnock after East Renfrewshire Council unveiled a plan to merge it with Giffnock Primary School.

Education chiefs put forward the proposal in December last year but after consultation with parents and pupils the Scottish Government ‘called in’ the education consultation.

Fund-raising for Wyndford Play Park

One of the many protests back in early 2009

As a result of the Wyndford occupations in April 2009 campaigners managed to save one of the building, and the grounds of the schools, to be used as a community centre (The Maryhill Hub). It wasn’t the result people were looking for but it’s shown that occupation and other direct action is sometimes needed to get the government to listen and take you seriously.

Campaigners in the area went on to form the Wyndford & District Community Council, and now another £75,000 of funding is available to complete the play park outside. It’s nowhere near enough to make a good job of things so they’ve decided to do further fund-raising. The current funds would see most of the area being tarmacked.

They’ll be approaching a whole range of different companies and funds for support. If you would like to help in any way, or you know of a group of company that might be interested in helping please let them know.

WyndfordCC@gmail.com or you can call on 07552 189 082

If you’d like to make a donation you can send a cheque to

Maryhill Hub,  , 186 Wyndford Road, Glasgow, G20 8HF (payable to Wyndford & District Community Council – or get in touch at the details above).

The audit of the bank account is always open for public viewing.

What they’re trying to have installed:

    • Toddler play frames and swings
    • Child play frames and swings
    • Road Park for cycling
    • Community garden
    • Allotment gardens(at the rear of the building)
    • Skate and BMX area

    The grounds of the Hub as they are just now.

    Last two photos by Frank Martin. Feel free to use and share.

    Register your hard won right to vote

    A women is arrested in Dundee, 1910, for demanding the right to vote.

    To vote in the Scottish elections on May 5th 2011 you must be 18 years old and a registered voter.

    Registering to vote is the first part of the process of exercising your democratic rights.

    If you filled out the form that was delivered between August and November by your local Electoral Registration Office you should be registered to vote.

    If this was not done by you or other household member on your behalf you can still register to vote for the May 5th election. You can use the About My Vote website to register online.

    Some people may have worries about going on the voters roll, possibly they have concerns about being harassed by debt collectors or other people who they don’t want to find out where they live.

    There are two versions of the electoral register – the full version and the edited version. The full register is used only for elections, preventing and detecting crime and checking applications for credit. The edited register is available for general sale and can be used by other organisations for commercial activities such as marketing.
    You can choose on your registration form whether or not to appear on the edited register.

    You have two votes, one for a constituency MSP and another, often referred to as the “second vote”, to vote for a list, or regional, MSP.

    Two ballot papers are issued, one for the constituency and one for the list vote, you use a single cross to mark your choice, one on each ballot.

    How the right to vote was won

    Your right to vote in the United Kingdom has been hard earned through militant campaigns to give the people the right to choose their political representatives.

    It was only in 1928 that all women finally won the right to vote after a titanic battle with the British state in which many forms of direct action were pioneered; chaining themselves to railings, setting fire to mailbox contents and smashing windows.

    One suffragette, Emily Davison, died after she stepped out in front of the King’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby of 1913. Many of her fellow suffragettes were imprisoned and went on hunger strikes, during which they were restrained and forcibly fed.


    Mass meeting of Chartists on Kennington Common in 1848

    Previously it had been the world’s first working class organisation, the Chartists, who had fought for the extension of the franchise from landowners and property holders to the working man.

    In a period of historical turmoil between 1838 and 1850, England, Scotland and Wales were convulsed by uprisings of workers, agricultural labourers and the liberal middle classes demanding the right to vote.

    The Chartists linked their demands for universal suffrage to the economic demands of the working class. Chartists were in the leadership of a series of strikes that swept 14 English and 8 Scottish counties, principally in the Midlands, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, and the Strathclyde region of Scotland. Typically strikers resolved to cease work until wages were increased and ‘until the People’s charter becomes the Law of the Land’.


    Vodafone – Tax Dodgers

    London protest #ukuncut
    Next action – Glasgow
    Meet at All Saints Buchanan St Glasgow @ 8.30am

    The government has allowed Vodafone to
    dodge £6 billion in tax. That’s money they owe
    the British public.
    The government is not acting to stop corporate
    tax evasion. As well as wiping Vodafone’s debt,
    they are cutting funding to HM Revenue and
    Custom by a quarter, making them toothless in
    the face of the corporate tax evaders.
    Through legal loopholes and tax evasion the
    wealthiest British companies dodge at least £12
    billion in tax a year.
    That amounts to at least £48 billion over the
    course of the next four years.
    Reclaiming that money would make over half of
    the government’s planned spending cuts unnec-
    The coalition government is ideologically commit-
    ted to cutting public spending, hitting the poorest
    and most vulnerable in our society hardest. It is
    the disabled, the unemployed, ethnic minorities
    and women who will feel the brunt of these cuts.
    At the same time, George Osborne has cut the
    tax corporations have to pay.
    The government cuts are not ‘fair’, we’re not ‘all
    in it together’ and there are alternatives.
    Here’s one alternative to the savage
    cuts: force the big companies to pay
    the tax that they owe us, starting with
    Vodafone’s £6 billion

    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.

    Teachers ‘must give more time’

    Scots lead in teaching hours

    Scottish teachers spend more time in the classroom than most of their counterparts across the developed world, according to new figures.

    A survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found school staff here spend an average of 855 hours a year teaching, more than any other country apart from New Zealand, Mexico and the United States.

    In addition, the report by the OECD also found classroom teachers in Scotland were the eighth best paid in the developed world, the same as last year.

    Countries ahead of Scotland – where non-promoted teachers can earn up to £34,000 – are Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Korea, Ireland, the Netherlands and Japan.

    Teaching unions said the figures highlighted the long hours teachers were already working in the classroom at a time when some local authorities want them to do even more.

    Last month, The Herald revealed the leader of Glasgow City Council wants teachers to work longer hours to stave off crippling budget cuts.

    Gordon Matheson (Labour) said increasing the amount of time teachers spend teaching by 30 minutes a day – at the expense of preparation time – would save money and prevent cuts to frontline education services.

    A few days later, Jenny Dawe (Lib Dem), the leader of Edinburgh City Council, spoke out in favour of the suggestion.

    Teaching unions immediately criticised the proposals, which they said could diminish the quality of education while also meaning teachers needed to do even more at home.

    Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said: “The amount of time that Scottish teachers spend actually teaching classes has come under misinformed attack in recent weeks.

    “As this publication clearly shows, in no other country do teachers spend more of their working day teaching classes than in Scotland, yet Scotland continues to rank far lower in terms of the salaries paid to our teachers.

    “In addition to the extremely high percentage of class contact time, Scottish teachers also rank very highly in terms of overall teaching hours. Scotland’s teachers continue to work some of the longest teaching hours in Europe, which is a credit to their professionalism and their desire to deliver the best outcomes for their pupils.”

    However, Mr Matheson said: “I am well aware of the number of hours teachers in Glasgow spend in the classroom and how hard they work to achieve the best results for our children.

    “However, the fact remains we are facing extremely difficult budget choices and I still believe that what I am requesting is reasonable. The fact that asking teachers to spend an additional 30 minutes in the classroom per day would save us £15million is not one I can ignore in the current economic climate, and that is why I have asked the Scottish Government to reopen the McCrone Agreement.”

    The 2001 McCrone Agreement states that teachers work a 35-hour week but only 22.5 hours are spent teaching, with the rest protected time to allow for lesson preparation, marking and other administrative work.

    Although no figures have been produced for Edinburgh, Glasgow said the change would save it £15m a year because fewer teachers would have to be employed.


    Sat 2nd October,

    Buchanan St, Glasgow


    Several unions and community campaigns have called this street rally to show our united outrage at vicious cuts to jobs, services, pay, benefits and pensions, planned by a Westminster government with no mandate in Scotland – and against cuts by Holyrood, local councils, NHS boards.

    Attend the Rally. Bring others from your work/community. Bring a banner. Get organised and united with other unions/community groups, to fight the cuts BEFORE the government finalise theirs plans in the October Spending Review.

    Get your organisation to add it’s name to this Rally – and order leaflets to advertise it.

    Ring: 07887 823 835           Email: uniteagainstcuts@hotmail.co.uk

    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.