Tuesday, 22 February 2011

SNP U-Turn on Education Cuts

SNP-led Renfrewshire Council has dropped its planned dilution of teaching staff. 

The local authority had planned to hire more than 100 part-time non-teaching staff to work with classes for 2.5 hours each week to cover such issues such as healthy lifestyle, citizenship, sport and culture. The proposal was designed to help save £1.1 million a year, with teacher numbers being cut  through redundancy and fewer supply teachers being used.

Last week at FMQs, Ian Gray challenged Alex Salmond to intervene to stop his party carrying out these  education cuts in Renfrewshire. Salmond responded with typical bombast and bullying bluster, shouting and bawling and waving his arms to such an extent that the Presiding Officer had to cut off his microphone.

But today, lo and behold, the policy has been dropped.

One up for Gray, I would say.


  1. An Duine Gruamach22 February 2011 at 11:35

    "Change this policy!"
    "Haha! You changed your policy!"

    Consensus politics?

  2. What a wonderful opportunity missed to widen the childrens outlook on the world it would have enabled them to interact with people and develop interests in so many diverse subjects.It would also be a chance to bring more male role models into the picture,which I am sure will be lacking in many childrens lives

  3. @An Duine Gruamach. You obviously missed half the post and apparently have no idea what consensus politics means.

    Gray raised the question. Salmond was so full of contempt for the question, the questioner and Parliament, his behaviour was so reprehensible, that he had to be rebuked by the Presiding Officer.

    Save teachers jobs? No way was he, the great Eck, ever going to do such a silly thing...

    Now read carefully: that is not consensus politics...

    If he had said "Ok, I see what you're getting at. I'll look into it. Leave it with me, I'll talk to Renfrewshire Council and see if we can reach an acceptable solution or compromise". that would have been consenus politics.

    As it is, his silly grandstanding is the opposite of seeking consensus. Which is why it's quite right to point out his, and Renfrewshire Council's, U-turn.

    @Anonymous, kids already get these people visiting and passing on their experience. Only a nt or a Tory would see it as an opportunity to sack teachers.

    And only a nat or a Tory could believe that sacking teachers is really an opportunity to expand childrens' horizons.

    Must try harder.

  4. Very poor effort Braveheart...

    The bit you describe as
    "Salmond responded with typical bombast and bullying bluster, shouting and bawling and waving his arms to such an extent that the Presiding Officer had to cut off his microphone."

    Was actually the bit where Salmond was accusing Labour of rank hypocrisy over education cuts and the Labour plans to introduce a 4 day week for school children in North Ayrshire. Those plans have been shelved thankfully.

    Now, whilst I agree with the presiding officer that Salmond should have answered the question I can also see why Salmond should find the Labour hypocrisy so galling on this matter.

    You keep spinning away though, some simpleton somewhere is likely to accept your version without question.

  5. TBH Jim, I couldn't hear what Salmond was ranting about at the time.... it such a rammy. It was not the kind of behaviour I would expect from anyone senior in any profession, let alone someone who wants to be PM (should that be Taoiseach?) of my country. He really has no respect for any person or institution.

    North Ayrshire Council never had any plans to introduce a four day week in schools. I know it said so in the Sun, and I know that Alex Salmond repeated it, but it is not and never was true.

    The plans for a 4 day week haven't been shelved. They never existed.

    So his "accusing Labour of hypocrisy.." was just his own hypocrisy in action. And noisy, blustering, bullying hypocrisy at that.

    I cannot see how you can defend such behaviour. If anyone else did it the nats would be up in arms...

  6. Funny that North Ayrshire Council leader David O'Neill felt comfortable talking about the 4 day week in schools being a plan which didn't win council support then... I suppose you'd know better than him though.

  7. dear oh dear, the unquestioning loyalty of people like yourself to the policy-less, empty headed shambles currently masquerading as the labour group in Scotland is cringe-worthy and depressing - look forward to a new non-aspirational existence should they actually gain power. too poor too wee too stupid etc etc repeat to fade.....

  8. Jim

    He did no such thing...

    Unless you cn quote a source...newspaper, tv clip, something?

    I would really like to see and if possible hear it.

  9. @Anonymous ... "Oh dear oh dear, the unquestioning loyalty of people........too poor too wee too stupid etc etc repeat to fade....."

    Anon, I'm sure that's your opinion, and highly entertainingI'm sure, but maybe you haven't noticed that this post is about the fact that the SNP has planned to cut teachers and then been forced into a u-turn.

    Do you have anything to say about that?

  10. Certainly Braveheart, I'll do your research for you, but in future google can be your friend too

    For Councillor O'Neill's explanations see:


    Strangely similar to the Renfrewshire situation - a proposal is made, considered, then dropped. It's what us grown ups do quite often in the real world away from petty, partisan, politics, where what's good for the goose is apparently not good for the gander!

  11. Sorry Jim

    It's nothing like the Renfrewshire situation.

    According to the BBC report you quote;

    "....council leader David O'Neill said the idea was among a range put forward for consideration by council officers but not supported by councillors.......What officers were asked to do was to look at worst possible scenarios and come back with options ....The idea of moving to four-day week was put in as a worst case scenario....we're trying to protect education spending so the idea of a four-day week is something that will not fly....No elected member at the seminar where we talked about it thought it was a good idea."

    Jim, if you've ever worked in industry and tried to cut budgets you will know that it is common for teams to be sent away to "think the unthinkable" and devise "worst case scenarios". These way-out ideas rarely get adopted, but they provide a context for any actions that may eventually be taken.

    In North Ayrshire a 4 day school week was a worst case scenario presented during the pre-budget sessions (all councillors from all parties participated) as a far-out possiblity and immediately rejected by councillors. It was an idea that died even before birth.

    By contrast, in Renfrewshire, the dilution of the teaching staff was SNP policy. I.e. it had gone through the full process of consultation and voting. SNP councillors voted for it, Labour Councillors voted against.

    You always strike me as a reasonable commentator Jim. I'm sure you can see the difference now that myself and the BBC have explained it.

  12. Braveheart

    I'm glad to see that you're coming around to understanding that North Ayrshire did indeed consider a proposal to reduce the school week to 4 days, albeit in their 'doomsday scenario'. That's quite a change from your earlier position of "The plans for a 4 day week haven't been shelved. They never existed "

    I won't bother making bold the salient points in Lorraine Cameron's press statement, but you can read some of the details about the proposals which Renfrew council were considering below:

    Councillor Lorraine Cameron, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, confirmed 60 teachers would lose their jobs if the plans went ahead, saving the local authority £800,000.

    Councillor Cameron said: “We are considering a proposal to have 2.5 hours of the primary school week led by specialist trained staff on a sessional basis.

    “They would work with the children on local and national priorities, such as citizenship, promoting better health, and encouraging participation in sport and cultural activity.

    “The programme would involve creating around 140 new job opportunities for specialist trained staff on a sessional basis.

    “Volunteers, with specific skills, would only be used as they are currently to supplement this new approach.

    “The main idea is to provide complementary activity in primary schools to help our youngsters develop the skills and abilities they need to flourish in life, learning, and work and enhance their current educational experience in line with Curriculum for Excellence.

    “We want to intervene early to provide specialist guidance for pupils to tackle the issues that youngsters in Renfrewshire face, for example, in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

    I'm sure you managed to read that this proposal has been 'shelved' in your link.

    As far as I'm concerned, both councils need to address a budgetary shortfall and both have considered some ideas which may be considered to 'out of the box thinking'.

    From my point of view they deserve credit for considering the ideas and giving them some air, rather than this breathless, hysteria that our so called politicians and you party apparatchiks prefer.

    You can continue to spin the Labour line that the 2 council scenarios are somehow different, but they're not and only when you open your other eye will you achieve the depth of vision required to see that.


  13. Jim

    there's an old line from Simon and Garfunkel;

    ".. a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest..."

    If you think a "blus skys" "Worst case scenario" suggestion from officers which is dismissed the moment it is revealed, is the same as an adopted policy, you are very much mistake and, I'm afraid, taking your defence of the SNP way beyond reason.


  14. Braveheart

    I would think it a much more grave error to dismiss an idea the moment it is revealed than to allow it to be given due consideration.

    I see that you've now promoted the Renfrewshire idea to 'SNP adopted policy'... your one-eyed outlook would be laughable it it wasn't such a wide spread problem in the West of Scotland.


  15. "I would think it a much more grave error to dismiss an idea the moment it is revealed than to allow it to be given due consideration."

    I've got an idea, let's jump off that 100 foot cliff. You first, and you can't dismiss an idea the moment it is revealed than to allow it to be given due consideration.

    So off you go, Jim......

    See how silly that is Jim?

  16. Braveheart

    Would we be jumping off that cliff with a bungee attached to our feet? I've done some crackers in New Zealand, so that sounds grouse!

    Or are you talking the full boona cliff diving experience - what a rush that would be, but I imagine I'd need to do a fair bit of training before I go for the 100 footer.

    Check out these boys!


    Awesome! Are you sure you'll be allright though? - difficult to see someone with your narrow horizons being able to let go of the safety rope ;-) But good to see you're at least thinking big!