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Sutherland Committee considers the Councils role in local education governance

14th September 2017

Members of the Sutherland County Committee have considered the implications of the Scottish Government's proposals for education governance and have agreed to seek views on the proposals through discussions in their communities and with their local Parent Councils.

The Council has agreed to seek to work with Government, including through CoSLA, the Northern Alliance and other fora in an endeavour to influence the proposals in a more positive and constructive direction.

Chair of the Committee Councillor Linda Munro said: "We are very concerned at the loss of local democratic control of education in these proposals to transfer responsibility from local authorities to a system of seven Regional Improvement Collaboratives answerable to the Chief Executive of Education Scotland.

"This will result in responsibility for the quality of education in Highland schools bypassing elected members of the Highland Council and instead lie with an elected Regional Improvement Collaborative remote from Highland schools and communities.

“In the Highlands we have made great progress in developing joined up services for children and families and we are very concerned that these proposals for separating education from other children's services will damage the progress that has been made and result in a poorer service and poorer outcomes for children and families."

Chair of the People Committee, Councillor Alasdair Christie stated: “I believe that local democratic accountability is fundamental to our schools. In Highland, we are part of a successful integrated children’s service committed to the best outcomes for all our children.

“Elected Members of the Highland Council currently work closely and effectively with their schools and parent councils. They provide clear, strategic leadership to officers and have always demonstrated a high level of commitment to the quality of education provision for Highland communities.

“The Council has a sound track record of innovative practice, for example, the development of integrated services for children and families. Furthermore, the Highland Council can demonstrate clear and determined commitment to collaborative working with other Local Authorities in order to improve outcomes for pupils."

Council Leader Margaret Davidson added: “The Highland Council has committed to work with our partners in COSLA and the Scottish Government to endeavour to influence these proposals in a more positive and constructive direction. We will continue to do that.”

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