EDUCATION: Proposed Changes to School Admissions and Placing Requests

By Dermocrat reporter

West Dunbartonshire Council have announced that due to COVID-19 the timelines outlined within the consultation papers will  change.

And the arrangements for holding public consultation meetings  about proposed Changes to School Admissions and Placing Requests will be put in place when COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

In the meantime views on the proposed changes can be submitted and will be considered, according to Laura Mason, the Chief Education Officer, pictured left.

The council’s consultation on proposed changes to the Council’s Admissions and Placing Request Policy, for placing requests for primary and secondary schools which opened on 16 March 2020 remains open, however.  It was due to end in May 2020 but due to the impact on coronavirus which meant public consultation meetings could not be held the consultation period has been extended.  In accordance with the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 they are are seeking views from members of the community, interest groups and parents on amendments to the  Admissions and Placing Request Policy,  which include the following proposals:

Changes to the current placing request criteria for primary and secondary schools.

  1. Clarity on ballot process (where places are oversubscribed).
  2. Amendment to the policy to provide clarification on documentation required to provide proof of residency.

There are a number of ways you can get involved:

  • You can complete the online survey.
  • You can put your response in writing to the address below.
  • Public Meetings – due to the current restrictions on gatherings, arrangements for public meetings are on hold.  Once a decision has been reached on how to safely hold public meetings, dates and venues will be published when available.

Further information on the proposed changes, and how to participate in the consultation is contained within the Proposal Paper.

Consultation Timeline

  • 16 March 2020 – Start of consultation process
  • Public Consultation Meetings – Dates/arrangements to be confirmed.
  • End of Consultation Period – To be confirmed.
  • Information to Education Scotland – Within 2 weeks of consultation period ending.
  • Report to Educational Services Committee – To be confirmed

Contact them by email:  educationstaffingteam@west-dunbarton.gov.uk

Or in writing:  Laura Mason
Chief Education Officer
West Dunbartonshire Council
16 Church Street
Dumbarton
G82 1QL Or telephone:  01389 737309

Meanwhile, the Scottish Liberal Democrats today said the SNP Government is “systematically stripping expertise from  nurseries” after it was revealed that the number of teachers working in Early Learning and Childcare has fallen to 729, compared to 1,200 in 2014 – a drop of 39%.

The number of two year olds from the least well-off backgrounds using the entitlement to funded ELC also decreased.

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP, pictured right, said: “The SNP Government is systematically stripping expertise from nurseries. These figures show a 39% reduction in teachers working in early learning and childcare since 2014.

“In February, the First Minister refused to ask why her SNP councillors in Edinburgh were removing all 80 nursery teachers from the capital’s nurseries.

“Cuts like these don’t match up to Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that education is her top priority. If you have the best qualifications, you become too expensive to keep. Quality doesn’t seem to matter to the SNP. Instead, the ELC workforce expansion is being accompanied by de-skilling.

“Scotland has also fallen way behind in the uptake of free early learning and childcare for two-year-olds from the least well-off backgrounds. Experts have warned that this low uptake jeopardises the work to close the poverty-related attainment gap.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats worked hard to successfully persuade the SNP Government of the value of expanding early learning and childcare. Every part of the sector should be thriving but that’s not happening. It needs a government with a needle-sharp focus on giving children the best start in life.”

Top picture: West Dunbartonshire education convener Cllr Karen Conaghan on a school visit.

Responding to the announcement that the statutory duty to deliver 1140 hours of funded early learning will not come into effect until August 2021, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said:  “The pandemic has disrupted all aspects of our lives but this government cannot use it as an excuse to kick the can down the road on major commitments. There will be no recovery without properly funded and supported childcare.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats secured commitments from the Scottish Government to expand childcare but parents need choice and flexibility, and it still isn’t clear that will be available next August. It must not be a take it or leave it offer to families. 

“Ministers need to be open about where progress has been made and where more attention is needed. This childcare is a lifeline for both parents and their children. If we want Scotland to be the best place for children to grow up, ministers need to get a move on. 

“The Childcare Minister must also reconsider her refusal to cover the costs of childcare for those deferring entry into P1 until 2023. Parliament voted for this in 2019 because parents who want to do what is right for their child shouldn’t be facing a £4,500 price tag.”

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