Grove Prize Giving at the Caird Hall

Grove Senior Rock Band
Yesterday I attended the Grove Academy Prize Giving at the Caird Hall. This event marked the end of another very successful session at the school. 

During the afternoon our attention was drawn to the breadth of the attainment and achievement of Grove Pupils:
  • from eco school to english;
  • from debating to digital media
  • from cross country to chemistry;
  • from hockey to history;
  • from water polo to physics and
  • from making music to mathematics.
The prize giving also celebrated the work of Head Teacher John Hunter and his Depute Sheila McLuckie, who are both due to retire tomorrow after many years very effective and dedicated leadership of Grove.
Mr Hunter delivering his report.

Mrs McLuckie announcing the award winners.

They both made impressive contributions to the event. Mrs McLuckie was a feisty and unflustered compere and Mr Hunter delivered his Annual School Report with his his usual frankness and eloquence about recent changes at Grove. They will be a formidable act to follow.

Online Petition - Say No to the Mobile Phone Mast Near Forthill Primary School

Vodaphone/O2 put forward a planning application in January 2011 to build a 3G mobile phone mast in the grounds of Forthill Sports Club close to Forthill Primary School. Dundee City Council's Planning Committe unanimously rejected the application at its meeting in March, based on visual appearance and insensitive location.

Vodaphone/O2 (in partnership with Forthill Sports Club) have now appealed against the City Council's decision.

Members of the Parent Council at Forthill Primary School have organised an online petition, which they intend to forward to the appeal.

If you would like to support their campaign, please go to the online petition and sign up. Deadline for comments and responses is Wednesday 6th July.


Cedar Road Sewage Flooding Not Acceptable

David Hewick, from Broughty Ferry Community Council, has being kicking up a fuss with Scottish Water about regular flooding at the southern end of Cedar Road near its junction with Forthill Road. 

While the temporary flooding is bad enough, his prime concern is more about what is being washed along with the run off of rain water. When the levels of flood water recede there is a nasty smell from human sewage and used toilet paper in the road. 

Despite notifying Scottish Water on numerous occasions and sending in pictures as evidence there has been no resolution from them. This is totally unacceptable. This is a serious public health issue and must be resolved. 

There are also wider questions about the capacity of our drainage system in Broughty Ferry. If the current system can't cope, what will things be like when even more homes are built and linked into the sewage and drainage system?

Broughty Ferry Gala Week Programme From Sunday 4 July 2011

This year's Broughty Ferry Gala week begins on Sunday. The eight day programme of events is available in a colourful booklet, free of charge, from shop counters in the Ferry. Lets hope the good weather today lasts for the weekend.

Well done the Gala Week Committee.

1 in 6 Dundee School Leavers Leave to Unemployment

Yesterday the Scottish Government published statistics on the Destinations of School Leavers last summer. These figures show that one in seven young people (nationally) and one in six in Dundee left school and were immediately unemployed.
These statistics underline the need for the SNP government to redouble its efforts to tackle youth unemployment which remains stubbornly high.

Locally, I urge the SNP Education Convener in Dundee to ensure that we drive up standards so our young people can compete for the places in higher or further education and job vacancies as these arise. As well as exam results, we must also focus on enhancing employability and readiness for the world of work. We can't afford another lost generation, like the 1980s, when young people are sentenced to long term unemployment.


Congratulations to Grove Academy Winners of Edinburgh Angus Club Awards

The Edinburgh Angus Club was founded in 1840.  It awards prizes, based on outstanding merit, whether academic or personal, to senior students at the Angus High Schools and Academies, and, in Dundee, The High School of Dundee, and HarrisMorgan and Grove Academies.

Congratulations to the recently announced 2011 winners from Grove Academy:
  • Mark Pandrich (higher English);
  • Nicola Lyall (higher French);
  • Katie Thomson (higher Spanish);
  • Liam Walker (higher German) and
  • Angus Stewart (advanced higher English).


Baldragon Academy Summer Concert

Last night I attended a most enjoyable Summer Concert at Baldragon Academy. The programme featured a breadth of performers and variety of musical genres. The excellence of each performance was a testament to the musicality of the pupils and the quality of the Music Department in the school under the leadership of Fiona Anderson as well as the impressive range of visiting music teachers.

Each performance was rewarded by enthusiastic applause from an appreciative audience. The photograph above shows piper and school orchestra performing Amazing Grace. 

Headteacher, Dr John Cavanagh, delivered the vote of thanks and wished pupils, parents and carers and staff an enjoyable summer break.


Derelict Beach Shelter on the Esplanade Demolished

Residents in The Ferry and regular visitors alike will notice that the derelict beach shelter on The Esplanade has been demolished.

Many folk will be surprised to learn that the demolition of such an eyesore needed approval from Historic Scotland, but the flat roofed building is in a conservation area. Now that that permission has been granted, the City Council has awarded a contract to demolish the building. The granting of this contract will be reported to the City Development Committee on Monday 27 June.

I think most Ferry folk will be delighted to see the back of this blot on the landscape and relieved that in time it will be redeveloped as part of the Castle Green Masterplan. In the meanwhile, it will provide more parking spaces at the beach.


Solar Cities Scotland Conference 2011 - Growing the Green Shoots of a Low Carbon Economy

Solar Cities Scotland are holding their 6th Annual Conference in Dundee on Friday 24 June at The Space, Dundee College:

This conference will explore how different approaches are being used across Scotland and Europe to make sure energy is used effectively and efficiently at different scales of community – from small rural village to large cities and even the regions.
It will also provide an excellent opportunity for networking and information sharing amongst professionals, groups and individuals that are interested in sustainable energy and low carbon living.

Places still available @ £15.


Help Shape the Future of Leisure and Culture in Dundee

Dundee City Council is in the process of establishing a new charitable organisation:
Leisure & Culture Dundee which will manage the following services:

  • Library and Information Services
  • Arts and Heritage Services
  • Halls and Music Development
  • Swim and Leisure Centres
  • Sports Development
  • Golf and Camperdown Wildlife Centre

The City Council is seeking applications from suitable individuals interested in becoming trustees of this exciting new organisation. If you believe that you have the skills, experience and enthusiasm to contribute to the running of the charity and its governance, as one of seven independent, unpaid trustees, please contact Ann Allardice to request an application pack in writing or by e-mailing:

Ann Allardice
Level 3, Central Library
The Wellgate
Dundee DD1 1DB


BERA to Receive Grant From City Council

Yesterday evening the Education, Arts and Communities Committee,at their final meeting, decided to award the Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association (BERA) a grant of £2,850 towards the costs of their running adult education classes at Grove Academy. This grant recognises the many hours of unpaid work undertaken by BERA committee members organising a diverse and successful programme of adult education classes for folk in The Ferry. 

The BERA annual accounts indicate that they have already paid over £4,800 to the City Council and Dundee College to rent classrooms, halls and swimming pools for their classes in 2010/11.


Commenting on Tayside Police Diversity Training reported on in Mail on Sunday

As an elected member of Dundee City Council, I am pleased to hear that Tayside Police is undertaking diversity training for its staff. Unlike the reporter from the Mail on Sunday, I think it can be useful to use images and snippets from television in such training to make it relevant to the lives of the course participants. Of the examples, cited, I vividly remember the moment that Susan Boyle first performed on Britain's got Talent in 2009. It's important to take seriously equal opportunities and its too easy to superficially criticize. I'll leave it to my colleagues on the Police Board to look into this and make a judgement about the effectiveness rather than the form of the training.


Deafening Silence from Director of Social Work, Social Work Convener and Older People's Champion in the City on Southern Cross Care Home Crisis

On Wednesday Southern Cross Healthcare Group, who run four care homes in Dundee, announced 3000 compulsory redundancies to be spread throughout their UK operations. On Thursday there was speculation that some of these care homes may shut down or be taken over by other private care home companies. As the crisis in the Southern Cross Healthcare Group deepens, many families will be worried about the future of their loved ones who are residents at the four care homes Southern Cross run in Dundee.

I have already been approached by one of my constituents who is concerned about the adequacy of care at the Pitkerro Road Care Centre, because it is hard not to believe that staff redundancies will mean there are fewer staff and therefore reduced levels of care. Not only will all these homes be coping with fewer staff, but doubts about a potential change of ownership and loss of employment may also undermine staff morale. 

The residents of these homes are some of the most vulnerable in the city and it's because they need care and protection they are in such establishments. In the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, Labour's Jackie Baillie called for the appointment of an national champion for older people to promote the rights of older people and to help sort out this mess. She also called for the SNP's cut to be reversed in the budgets of the new organisations that inspect care home establishments. But here is Dundee we already have an Older People's Champion for the City - Councillor Ken Lynn, and a Convener of Social Work - Councillor Jim Barrie and a Director of Social Work. Why has there been a deafening silence from them? I think it is time they publicly acknowledged this potential crisis in care and let us know their contingency plans if the Southern Cross Healthcare Group collapses.


V &A Exhibition of Cecil Beaton Royal Portraits at McManus Galleries from 30 September

This autumn visitors to the McManus Galleries will be able to enjoy a unique preview of an exhibition of photographic portraits, many previously unpublished, of the Queen by Cecil Beaton. This exhibition, curated by the V&A as part of the celebrations to mark the Monarch's Diamond Jubilee, will run from September 30 to January 8 in Dundee before transferring to the V&A in London. This is the first in a series of partnership projects between the McManus and the V&A as part of the run-up to the establishment of the V&A in Dundee.