Scottish Rural Schools Network

A network of community groups who campaign for the retention and strengthening of education provision in rural Scotland.

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Liz Smith MSP Criticises Recommendation to Weaken Educational Benefit Test

In a statement, Liz Smith MSP (Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman) said:

“We remain deeply concerned about the attempts to weaken the criteria by which councils must decide which schools should be recommended for closure.

“What matters is the question of educational benefit, yet it appears that this report is undermining that focus and I have no doubt this will be a matter of great concern to parents and teachers across Scotland.

Liam McArthur MSP Calls for Quick Response from Education Secretary

Liam McArthur MSP (Liberal Democrat education spokesperson) has called for the Education Secretary to explain how he intends to move forward, following the publication of the CDRE report.

“Over the last two years, however, many pupils, parents, school staff in rural communities across Scotland have been left uncertain about what the future holds. It is important therefore that the Education Secretary makes clear his intentions, particularly in relation to any changes to the 2010 Act, as a matter of urgency.”

Government Publishes Responses to Individual CDRE Recommendations

The Scottish Government's responses to the 38 recommendations made by the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education has been published here.

SRSN Response to Consultation on Amending the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010

Below is SRSN's response to the Scottish Government's consultation Amending the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010. The consultation documents can be found here.

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Mike Russell Statement & Questions in Parliament on CDRE

On Thursday 13 June 2013 Michael Russell gave the Scottish Government's detailed response to the Report of The Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education. SRSN particularly welcomes the decision not dilute need to show how changes to educational provision will result in an improvement.

Below is the full text of the Cabinet Secretary's statement and the questions that followed it.

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Edinburgh Shows the Dangers of Downsizing

In 2009 Edinburgh City Council (EDC) proposed the closure of Drumbrae Primary School. A part of the Council's argument for closure was the necessity to reduce surplus capacity in the West Edinburgh Sector. EDC has now had to make “emergency” plans for increasing school capacity in the sector and elsewhere.

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TESS Article on Commission Focuses on Information Quality

“Experts call for an end to inconsistency and better handling of proposed closures”

“The future of rural schools the length and breadth of Scotland looks more secure after the publication today of a landmark report that calls for an end to inconsistency, misinformation and lack of openness around proposed closures…”

click here for the full article

Comhairle Eilean Siar Leader "Disappointed" that Call-In Recommended to be Retained

The Stornoway Gazette reports that Comhairle Eilean Siar Leader, Angus Campbell, says he is “disappointed that the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education has recommended Scottish Ministers should retain the power to call-in councils’ decisions on school closures.”

In its evidence to the the Commission, SRSN argued strongly that in the face of the continued poor practice of some authorities (a point accepted by the Commission in its report - “There are serious concerns that the standard of consultation and accuracy of information provided has often been poor”), call-in or an alternative independent scrutiny method remains an essential protection for communities.

Herald Urges Caution on Educational Benefit Change

In an editorial today, The Herald cautions against hasty moves to dilute the primacy of educational benefit in decisions about school closures.

Webcast of Commission Report Launch

There will be a webacst of the report launch on Highland Council's website at approx 10am, Friday 19th April 2013.

Commission Report Expected Friday 18 April

We are expecting the report of the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education to be published at around 10am tomorrow in Inverness.

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Herald Reaction to Commission Report

The Herald reports on the publication of the Commission Report, concentrating on the (majority) recommendation to relax the requirement to demonstrate education benefit in proposals.

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