Category Archives: Education

Richard Moore Raises Concerns over Teacher Shortages and College Cuts

There are unfilled vacancies for teachers in key subjects in both the Arbroath secondary schools.
Richard Moore said: “This is a serious concern. Under-staffed departments mean overworked teachers and less contact time for pupils.
If subject choices are limited and exam results suffer, opportunities are affected for a pupil’s lifetime.
We are already facing shortages of certain skills, such as in the trades, and this needs to be addressed.”

Richard is also worried by cuts in courses at the Arbroath campus of Dundee & Angus College.
“When part-time courses are not on offer in Arbroath,” he says, “it’s people with family caring obligations who miss out most.
Travelling to Dundee or Perth is just not an option for them.
Further Education should be within reach for all who want it, regardless of their stage of life or responsibilities.”

Richard Moore offers solutions to “School Run” parking

Residents near schools have complained to Richard about “school run” parking.
Richard said, “Residents are annoyed at their drives being blocked and road restriction markings being ignored.
Of course parents want their children to get to and from school safely, but we have to make sure that other children are not put at risk by thoughtless parking.”

“There are solutions to address the problem. For example, there are walking buses, ‘Park and Stride’, using a local car park as an assembly point.
We have to raise awareness of the dangers and educate parents about the risks of careless parking.
My aim is to address the problem sensibly without resorting to draconian measures such as parking fines.”

Richard Moore is the Scottish Liberal Democrats candidate for Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim.

New Primary School for Drumoak

Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee has agreed that it would like to see a two court hall/community facility at the new primary school to be built in Drumoak to replace the existing school. The matter was discussed at the meeting of the Committee held on Tuesday. Councillors agreed to recommend to the Policy and Resources Committee the scheme design for the new school. The new primary school will have capacity of 145 with core facilities for a possible future expansion to 170. There will also be nursery provision.

Sustainability has been a key consideration in the design of this school and attainment of the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method “Very Good” rating has been targeted as a minimum standard with the project aiming for an “Excellent” rating. In an effort to utilise renewable energy sources, south facing roofs will accommodate arrays of photovoltaic panels with electricity generated, but not consumed on-site, being sold to the National Grid by contractual agreement. In line with Council policy on fuel choice, the development will be heated using biomass and the emphasis will be on fuel being manufactured and delivered from local sources.

The estimated costs for the baseline costs of the school have increased to £7.4M. This is because the Education, Learning and Leisure service have requested some additional space including a catering kitchen and because of the photovoltaic panels. However, this panels will generate an income with a payback time of about nine and a half years. The additional expenditure to provide a two court hall will likely be up to £450,000.

Speaking at the meeting of the Area Committee, Peter Bellarby, Councillor for Stonehaven and Lower Deeside, said:

“The present primary school at Drumoak is dreadful. Why is it dreadful? It is not because of the staff, who do a really good job in difficult circumstances. It is because of the state of the building. There is water dripping down the inside of walls. There is temporary accommodation in portacabins at the other side of the playground with no toilets there. Children have to cross the playground whatever the weather to access the toilets. The school is grossly over capacity. There is a clear need to have a replacement school.

“We, the Council and Councillors, have listened to the community in the past. Concerns were expressed at the original choice of site which parents thought was too close to an electricity sub-station. So we moved the site away from the sub-station. There was a clearly expressed wish to have the school constructed as soon as possible. And that’s what we agreed the last time the new school was considered by this Committee. We added to the officers’ recommendations that the school should be constructed as soon as practicable.

“We need to listen to the community again and respond positively to the clearly expressed wish that there should be a two court rather than a one court hall. There are some additional reasons to support having a two court hall. One is the standards for new primary schools that were agreed to at the last meeting of the Educational, Learning and Leisure Committee. These standards include having a two court hall for a school size over 145. There is also the present dilapidated community hall, presently unused. I propose that the Committee instruct officers to commence the process of disposing of this. The community are quite happy to see this. The proceeds can go to the Council’s capital fund.”

The proposals will be finally decided at the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee to be held on November 15.

Sir Robert Smith Presents Tesco School & Club Awards

Sir Robert Smith MP recently presented local schools with their awards after saving up Tesco School and Club vouchers at the Tesco Store in Newtonhill along with Nicola Roach, Service Manager at the Newtonhill store.

Sir Robert Smith presents awards at Newtonhill

Sir Robert Smith presents TESCO awards at Newtonhill

In the Picture from left to right Nicola Roach (Service Manager for Tesco’s Newtonhill), Heidi Wards (Arduthie Primary School), Aspen Maitland (Newtonhill Primary School), Lucy Buchan (Portlethen Academy), Erin McLaughlin (Carronhill School) and Sir Robert Smith MP for West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine.

Scottish Budget boost for Colleges

Angus and Mearns candidate Sanjay Samani has welcomed the major concessions to this year’s Scottish Budget secured by Liberal Democrat MSPs which will help Aberdeen, Angus and Dundee Colleges.

Concessions made to the Liberal Democrats include:

  • Additional funding for FE bursaries of £15 million, spread across 2010-2011-12 to provide additional student support for current student numbers.
  • Additional funding of £8 million in 2011-12 that would support an additional 1,200 college places and associated student support.
  • 1,500 additional Modern Apprenticeships, including 500 places for the renewables sector, at a cost of £2 million
  • 2,000 additional flexible training opportunities

Sanjay commented,

“40,000 students across Scoltand were going to have their budgets slashed by the SNP Government, but this has been reversed thanks to the Lib Dems working hard for you at Holyrood.”

“This is a better budget than the SNP presented in November.  It is better for young people in the Mearns wanting the skills they need to find jobs, helping our local economy.  It is  better for colleges in Angus, Dundee and Aberdeen, that will be able to provide more opportunities.   And it is better for Angus and Mearns businesses that will be able to take on more apprentices.”

“It is also great to hear that the National Union of Students support what we have done.”

Commenting Liam Burns, President of NUS Scotland, said:

“This is great news and testament to the hard work of thousands of college students across Scotland and the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Students across colleges and universities have mobilised fantastically well, with over 32,000 letters and emails sent to MSPs on this issue.

“To win £15m college bursaries, and £8m for college places, in a budget which is being cut is a fantastic result.  We hope this will now end the yearly ritual of college bursaries running out and end the threat of cuts to 40,000 of our poorest students.”

Lib Dem Achievements in Government

Over the last few weeks, I have been disappointed to hear fellow Liberal Democrats repeat the accusations of our opposition, and in particular certain portions of the national media who have been desperately trying to portray Lib Dems in a negative light.  There is a continuing misconception that the Liberal Democrats sacrificed too much to the Conservatives during coalition negotiations. Here’s the real story of what we have achieved in Government.

This document is already 3 months old, so the list has grown since then, but it is a good starting point.

Lib Dem Achievements in Government

 

After the first TV debate during the General Election campaign, our opponents recognised that Nick Clegg was our strongest asset.  Since the morning of the second debate, there has been a sustained attack on him personally and on the reputation of the party as a whole.  Even Ed Milliband has resorted to personal attacks on Nick Clegg.  It is disgraceful, gutter politics.  Unfortunately, if you throw enough mud, it will eventually stick.

Nick Clegg is the antithesis of Teflon Tony Blair.  His record, as demonstrated above, is one to be proud of.  I for one, do not think I could cope with excrement posted through my door, my effigy being burnt, being called a traitor and receiving death threats and still come out fighting the way that Nick Clegg did at the Sheffield Lib Dem Conference.

I cannot agree with those in the party that take the attitude that they are in politics to fight Conservatism as a result of Thatcher’s legacy.  Saying that we would only go into a coalition with a discredited, illiberal, economically incompetent Labour Party would doom our party into subservience.

I came into politics and joined the Lib dems to make a difference on issue that I cared about, whether it was the environment, children’s welfare or civil liberties.  I believe in the values of the party, that local people know best about their area, that solutions should last and that everyone deserves a fair chance.

Those values, issues and policies are now being successfully implemented in Government, and it is a record that we should all be proud of.