Courier Public Debate on Forth Energy Proposed Biomass Power Station Wednesday 1st May

The Courier is hosting a major public event to debate Forth Energy's proposal to build a renewable energy plant at Dundee harbour.
It will be held on Wednesday May 1 at the Gardyne Theatre, Gardyne Road, Dundee, DD5 1NY.
The debate will begin at 7pm (please arrive and be seated for 6.45pm) and will finish at 8.15pm.
The event will be chaired by Steve Bargeton, deputy editor of The Courier. The panel will also welcome questions from the audience.
If you would like to attend please click here to reserve tickets.


Coastal Pathway Improvements Nearing Completion

Works started on the upgrading of the Coastal Pathway near Douglas Terrace just before Christmas and it's now nearing completion. 

Kilmac, the contractors, have kept to the contract period, despite contending with many periods of poor weather and a narrow period of time to work on the beach between the tides. 

The picture shows the row of new railings going up on the upgraded section of the walkway which begins just beyond the lifebuoy ring. 

Working from the Douglas Terrace end, gradually the extended width of the pathway is being opened up as the safety railings are erected.  I am advised however that there may be one further period of closure when tarmac is put down over the concrete along the full length and breadth of the upgraded section of the pathway.

I am sure walkers, dog walkers and cyclists will all appreciate the additional width of the upgraded path when it is completed in the next couple of weeks. 


Now You See It, Now You Don't - Former Site of Ice Cream Shop Cleared

The disused former ice cream shop on the corner of New Road and King Street has been demolished and the site has been cleared. 

My two photos show the before (above) and after (below) views of this site. 

Fintry Place - Beside Forthill Primary School - Proposed Part Time Prohibition of Driving Order 2013

Click on image to enlarge

Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.Due to high traffic volumes and parking issues during school pick up and drop off times at Forthill PS and St. Mary’s RCPS, it is necessary to prohibit vehicular access to both Fintry Place and St. Mary’s Lane to stop the potential for conflict between vehicular traffic and school children.

Full details of the proposals are contained in the draft Order, which together with a Statement of the Council’s reasons for proposing to make the Order may be examined during normal office hours and without payment of fee at Dundee City Council offices, Reception, 18 City Square, Dundee by any person, during a period of 21 days from 26/4/13.  A copy of the plans can also be viewed by searching for "Traffic Regulation Orders (In Progress)" in the A to Z section of our website.

Any person may within 21 days from 26/4/13 object to the proposed Order by notice in writing to the Head of Democratic and Legal Services, Dundee City Council, 21 City Square, Dundee.  Objections should state the name and address of the objector, the matters to which they relate and the grounds on which they are made.

ROGER MENNIE, Head of Democratic and Legal Services


Dundee Sailing Club Open Day at Grassy Beach Centre

The burger and refreshment stall
Earlier today, 12 Noon until 4pm, Dundee Sailing Club held a successful open day at their club house and boat storage area at the Grassy Beach in The Ferry.

They offered an opportunity to have a go at sailing in a dinghy. Their offer helpfully included lending waterproofs and safety equipment.

Refreshments and burgers were also available and the sun shone on the sailors.

Further details:


Consulatation Reports Published on Proposed New Schools in Coldside, Menzieshill and Strathmartine

The Education Department has recently been consulting on three proposals in line with the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.

The proposals were:
  • to relocate Rosebank Primary School, Our Lady’s Primary School and Frances Wright Pre-School Centre to a new shared campus site with shared community facilities in the Coldside area;
  • to discontinue Hillside and Gowriehill Primary Schools and build a new 3 stream primary school incorporating a provision to replace Menzieshill Nursery School; and
  • to build a community campus on the site of the existing Baldragon Academy on a phased basis to include Baldragon Academy, Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School.
As part of the process, the authority must publish a report after the end of the consultation period which must contain:
  • an explanation of how the proposal has been reviewed;
  • the full text of the Education Scotland (HMIe) report which considers the educational aspects of the proposal;
  • a summary of the points raised during the proposal (written and oral) and the authority’s response to them;
  • a statement explaining how the authority has reviewed the proposal in the light of representations and the Education Scotland (HMIe) report.
The Consultation Reports are available to download below:
They will be available on the council’s website from Monday 22 April for a period of four weeks. Paper copies of the report will be available to in the reception area of each establishment involved in the consultation process. In addition, a copy will be available at Customer Services Reception, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee.

At the end of the consultation period, a final decision will be taken on each proposal and a report taken to the Education Committee and Policy and Resources Committee on Monday 24 June 2013.


Positive Report from HMIE on Grove Academy

On Tuesday Education Scotland published the report on the inspection of Grove Academy by Her Majesty's Inspectors earlier in the year.

In a very positive report they conclude that, 'this inspection found the following key strengths.
  • Progress made by the headteacher and senior management team in unlocking the school’s potential for growth.
  • The commitment of staff and partners to providing the range of opportunities for young people to learn and achieve.
  • Attainment at S5/S6.
  • Responsible, courteous and confident young people.'
HMIE also discussed with staff and the education authority how they might continue to improve the school. 'This is what we agreed with them:
  • Ensure the wider support team works together better to provide a high quality support service for all young people.
  • Continue to develop all young people as independent learners.
  • Continue to use rigorous self-evaluation to create more consistency in approaches to learning across the school.'
I wish to congratulate the Head Teacher his staff and the pupils for such a positive report. They have clearly earned the confidence of HMIE that the school can be confidently left to make progress on the issues identified in the inspectors' report.

Read/download the full inspection report.


Proposals for School and Family Development Workers At Unacceptable Cost to Support for Learning Teachers

On Monday evening 22 April, the Education Committee was asked to approve a plan to appoint 17 School and Family Development Workers across the city. They will work with primary school and nursery school ,children and their parents and carers. 

The committee report pointed out that:
 'The work of the Early Intervention School and Family Development Worker (EIFDW) is designed to offer early intervention, preventative support and guidance and advice to parents and families to help deal with issues and problems as soon as they emerge.'

I support the case for these staff, but I find it unpalatable that half the cost of this new initiative will be immediately borne by having fewer support for learning teachers in our schools because £250,000 is robbed from their budget which is 'underspent' by not filling vacant posts for Support for Learning Teachers.

As a result, children who have learning difficulties and who are being supported in mainstream schools settings will receive less support in their schools. These pupils will pay for half of this experimental scheme. As the funding for the other £250,000 of the budget is only guaranteed for three years, this proposal asks us to be prepared to reduce support for learning by up to £500,000 in the medium term.

I think the Council should look harder at how they can fund this project; otherwise it would be merely robbing Peter to pay Paul.


Open Space on Douglas Terrace Needs Attention Once It's Vacated by Contractors Working on Coastal Pathway

Click on image to enlarge
Contractors working on the upgrading of the raised coastal pathway near Douglas Terrace have been using the triangle of green space in the picture for storage of plant and building materials.

Now that the contract is coming to an end, we can anticipate residents and visitors getting their open space back. But I think it will need some initiative from the grounds maintenance staff in the Environment Department to re-seed the bald patches and to flatten out the surface where this has been churned up.

I have contacted the Environment Department Manager for Dundee East to request that once Kilmac, the contractors, have finished on site in the next two or three weeks, that restoration of the this area of open space is prioritised.


Building Work Approved for Eastern and Forthill Primary Schools

At the City Development Committee last night, the Council agreed to funding for two tenders for building work at schools in The Ferry:

Eastern Primary School, a sum of £68,634.90 for "Gym Hall Heating Refurbishment" by Environment Department (Construction Services)

I think pupils and teachers, as well as out of school users of the Games Hall, will appreciate heaters that work effectively.

Forthill Primary School, a sum of £161,299.00 for "Out of School Modular Unit" - Supply of Modular Unit by Elite Systems

This will provide larger premises for the children using the Forthill Out of School Care Club which was recently rated by the Care Inspectporate with Excellent grades for each category of their inspection.


Proposed Dundee Tourism Strategy and Broughty Ferry

On Monday, Councillors will be asked to approve a Tourism Action Plan for the Council. As a Ferry Councillor, I have been looking at where Broughty Ferry fits into this.

Broughty Ferry is mentioned twice in the twenty page report. Firstly, the report acknowledges that in addition to the city centre and the waterfront developments there are other destinations to be promoted: 
"Dundee also has some key locations which are likely to be of interest and could be packaged as visitor attractions in their own right – examples of this would include Broughty Ferry and also West End or Cultural Quarter."

And when it comes to recommendations and actions:
"Identify key geographies in terms of specific areas within the city which can be packaged as a visitor destination within the city.
Lead Department –
• Activities
- Consider the added value to packaging areas together in relation to tourism offer i.e. Broughty Ferry, West End/Cultural quarter and develop marketing information
• Measures
- Additional visitors to areas identified
• Timescale – Ongoing

I know that Broughty Ferry Traders, the Community Council and the Broughty Ferry Development Trust would all welcome better promotion of Broughty Ferry as a destination. Currently, Visit Scotland's offering on their website leaves a lot to be desired as their information is out of date and incomplete. And measuring success of this proposed Tourism Action Plan by increases in visitor numbers to The Ferry would be a fair and acid test.


Back Dundee's Bid to Achieve UK City of Culture Status in 2017

Click on image to enlarge
Dundee is bidding to be the UK City of Culture in 2017, a competition run by the UK government which uses culture and creativity to transform communities. 

It’s an opportunity to remind ourselves what an astonishing place Dundee is, and what remarkable people live and work here.

We Dundee is a way to show the tremendous imagination and enthusiasm of people from all walks of life across the city, and demonstrate the difference that becoming UK City of Culture could make to us individually and as a city. 

The Stage One bid has to be submitted by the end of April and the We Dundee website invites comments in support of the bid - the aim is to have 2017 comments by the Stage One bid deadline.

Back Dundee's bid to achieve UK City of Culture Status in 2017 by adding your comments:

Link to 2017 - Your City, Your Culture, Your Bid website. 


Forward Together - Discovering Out of School Care in Dundee

One of four discussion groups at the seminar
Click on image to enlarge
On Friday morning, I attended the Forward Together - Discovering Out of School Care in Dundee event held in the Marryat Hall.

This seminar was organised by staff from the City Council's Education Department and involved staff and committee members from the seventeen clubs in the city. This network of clubs provide good quality out of school care for over 1000 children. Their flexible service provides before and after school care and extended hours during the school holidays. This not only provides care for children, but also supports parents and carers who are working.

It is often not appreciated that each club is independently managed by a committee of parents who employ staff to run the clubs. Clubs are financed by a mixture of fees paid by parents and carers and fund raising together with grant aid from the Council as well as free access to school premises. So while the Council support the clubs and see them as a vital part of care and learning for children in our city, they do not directly run them like nursery and primary schools.

During the morning, it became clear that there are a number of challenges for the Out of School Care Clubs. First of these, on the road ahead, is that in few years time all managers of clubs will need to be qualified to degree level. Currently, most of the Managers across the city are not qualified to this level.

In The Ferry, each of our three primary schools has an Out of School Care Club. I have recently featured the very positive inspection reports on the clubs based at Eastern Primary School and Forthill Primary School.


North Barnhill Residents' Group Public Meeting

On Wednesday evening I attended a public meeting organised by North Barnhill Residents' Group in the gym hall at Barnhill Primary School.

The meeting heard from Art Sangster, Senior, Community Safety Warden (see picture) with Dundee City Council about the work of the Community Safety workers in Dundee. He stressed the importance of residents contacting Community Safety about issues that concerned them as his team no longer undertook routine patrols but responded to issues that had been reported to them.

Nicola Mitchell, Tenant Participation facilitated a discussion about community issues that the residents would like to progress over the coming year.

For further information about the meetings of this group, please contact:

Nicola Mitchell
Tenant Participation Officer
East District Housing Office
169 Pitkerro Road Dundee DD4 8ES 
Tel 01382 307330 Email


YMCA Window Boxes Brighten Up The Neighbourhood

Have you noticed the YMCA have planted primulas in their window boxes this year?  

Despite the hesitant start to Spring, the flowers are peeking over the top of the window boxes and providing a colourful glimpse of Spring in Brook Street as we pass by.

Well done to the YMCA for brightening up our neighbourhood.


Missing Bollard in Queen Street Car Park Reported

A constituent alerted me to the missing bollard in the easterly corner of the Queen Street Car Park.

This row of bollards prevent cars from takin a short cut into Gray Street.  

I have contacted the transportation department about this issue and requested the installation of a replacement to bridge the gap in the line of bollards


Broughty Opera Celebrating 90 Years and Performing 90th Spectacular - Gardyne Theatre 24, 25 and 26 April 2013

Broughty Ferry Amateur Operatic Society are celebrating their 90th birthday this year.

To mark this occasion they will be performing a "90th Spectacular" in the Gardyne Theatre on Wednesday 24th, Thursday 25th and Friday 26th April 2013. There will be singing and dancing from various shows over the past 90 years.

This is a significant milestone for Broughty Opera who have made and continue to make a very positive contribution to the musical life of our community.

Performances of the "90th Spectacular" show start at 7.30pm and tickets - £12 - are available from any company member or the City Box Office telephone 01382 434940.

Broughty Ferry Opera website
Broughty Ferry Opera on Facebook


Gale Force Winds in Broughty Ferry Blow Over Fencing on the Coastal Pathway

Gale force winds in Broughty Ferry yesterday blew over a lengthy section of the site fencing along the coastal pathway near Douglas Terrace. 

The fallen line of interconnected fencing panels were constricting the available 'corridor' for walkers and at the same time potentially opening up access across the fallen fencing to the seaward side of the walkway where there is as yet no protective barrier on the edge.

Contractors Kilmac are currently upgrading the last unimproved section of the coastal pathway that runs between the Stannergate and Douglas Terrace. 

I contacted Kilmac and the City Engineer to inform them about the fencing.


Littering in Broughty Ferry is an Expensive and Unsightly Disgrace

Wind blown litter on Claypotts Road
Click on image to enlarge
Before roadside shrubs burst into leaf and bloom, accumulated litter on our road margins is, to my mind, an unwanted eyesore.

My photo features a short stretch of Claypotts Road which is, unfortunately, typical of too many locations in Broughty Ferry just now.

Carelessly discarded cigarette cartons, drinks cans and bottles, confectionery wrappers, plastic carrier bags and redundant packaging are accumulating in wind blown locations like this.

I know I am definitely showing my age when I harp back to the good old days of cash deposits on drinks' containers and less packaging on confectionery. Kids would be paid the deposits for bottles that they had collected and then returned to a retailer. Mrs Cartmel ran the sweet shop near where I spent my childhood. Like most kids that returned 'found' empty bottles of popular carbonated drinks, I immediately turned the cash deposits I had earned into purchases of sweets.

Another abiding memory of those times was the injunction from my parents to either put ones rubbish into a bin or take it home. This was reinforced by adult relatives and friends. And by and large it was a tidier time on the litter front. 

So while the Council evidently have a role to play, its very expensive constantly clearing up after us all. I, for one, resent spending so much of our public money on cleansing when the money would be better spent in our schools and other public services. 

We all therefore have a role to play to reduce this unsightly intrusion onto our community. 

Enough said!


No 5 Bus Service Unreliability

I have received this detailed and worrying complaint about the No 5 bus service from a constituent. 

The constituent reported:

"Just before Easter passengers boarded a number 5 bus outside Debenhams.  It drove on only one stop and passengers were asked to get out and get on the next bus.  That immediately went out of service as well on arrival at the High Street main stop (ie after progressing 1 stop only), and the third bus uplifted passengers but it was very overcrowded.  The first bus was a double decker, the second a very small single decker, and the third a standard single-decker.  The latter 2 were too small for the number of passengers, especially at a peak time. 

My complaint is about the general deterioration of the 5 commuter service over several months.  The above is a typical example. The service is now unreliable; does not conform to timetable; services are regularly cancelled at peak times; the buses which do turn up are often far too small for the number of passengers and regularly passengers are left standing at intermediate stop s.  The service is very poor.  I am also emailing this text to my elected representatives because I complained a few months ago but the service has got worse since then."

I have asked National Express Dundee for an explanation for my constituent and regular users of the No 5 service.


Five Pavements in Broughty Ferry Will be Upgraded in 2013/14

The City Development Department have informed me that five pavements in Broughty Ferry have been included in the Council's 2013/14 programme of upgrading unadopted pavements.

These are:
  • Abertay Street - west side
  • Fairfield Road - east side (north of Strathern Road)
  • Bughties Road - south side
  • Campfield Road
  • Albany Road - south side
I know from constituent complaints and concerns that there will be many folk who will be pleased when their pavements are upgraded and then adopted by the Council.

For example, one grand mother complained to me about the state of the west side of Abertay Street in the stretch between Camphill Road and the Campfield Square shops. This had been so uneven that it had been painful for her to walk along. Furthermore when her grand daughter was pushing her doll's pram to the shops, the large exposed gravel was a hazard for young knees and an awkward barrier for the wee pram wheels.

I am sure constituents in the relevant streets will now be counting the days until there pavements are upgraded.


Forthill Drive Walkabout March 2013

Last month, on a bitterly cold afternoon, I took part in the annual walkabout around Forthill Drive and the surrounding streets. 

This was arranged by the Housing Department who had invited representatives from council and other services to walk round the estate with members of the Forthill Tenants' Association.

During the walk we were all able to identify housing and other environmental issues that needed attention.

In Forthill Place for example we identified that the road sign was hanging down and on closer inspection looked as though it had been hit by a reversing car. We also met residents who told us about their frustration with parents and carers who try to drive down Forthill Place to the side gate for Forthill Primary School and then find it difficult to turn or reverse all the way back to Forthill Drive. Forthill Place is the narrowest street on the Estate and has no pavements.

The drooping street sign and the issue of restricting access to Forthill Place has been reported to the Transportation Department. 


Sand Dunes Need Stabilisation Again

Recent high easterly winds have deposited tons of sand on the Esplanade in Broughty Ferry which the Environment Department have been valiantly sweeping up and removing.

The dunes that sit between the Esplanade and the beach seem to have taken a pounding. 

Little of the fencing that had been erected to help stabilise the dunes remains in place. It had already been broken but the recent storm force winds seem to have finished it off.  I have contacted the Environment Department to ask what plans are in place to tackle these issues, not only to retain the sand dunes as a feature of the beach, but also to help protect homes in the vicinity from wind blown sand. 


Historic Street Lamps in Beach Crescent Looking Good

Row of distinctive lamp standards
The historic group of street lights in Beach Crescent in The Ferry have been restored and re-errected.

When they were removed for restoration, some residents contacted me concerned that they might have been been removed permanently. In fact, this was a vital rescue mission, as the former gas lamps had been allowed to get into a really poor state of repair. I hope that they are now pleased as I am with the results.

That this row of lamp standards was saved is down to foresight and determination of the Broughty Ferry Development Trust. The trust were, formed just a few years ago, to help facilitate such improvements.
The second photograph show some of detail picked out in the base of the columns. On one side it features the unmistakable outline of Broughty Castle. In the encircling garland is the inscription, ’Burgh of Broughty Ferry.'
This has been a most worthwhile conservation project. I look forward to the Development Trust bringing forward similar projects in the future and where appropriate facilitating Council support for these.


Some Broughty Ferry Train Fares Will be Cheaper Too

List of Broughty Ferry Train Fare Reductions
Click on image to enlarge
I was pleased to learn on 2nd April that the Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSP, has announced reduced Dundee rail fares from 19 May 2013 removing anomalies in ticketing prices which had been dubbed the Tay Train Tax.

However a spokesperson for ScotRail had pointed out that the new deal would only end 
split-ticketing on *more popular journeys*. They had warned that, it may still be possible to find a cheaper deal by stringing together several legs of a journey, or splitting less common fares. It was not clear from this statement whether the changes announced by The Transport Minister would also help remove anomalies in the rail fares to and from Broughty Ferry which I have regularly highlighted.

I therefore contacted ScotRail for clarification. I was pleased to receive a quick response from ScotRail and relieved that they were able to confirm a range of lower ticket prices for travellers using Broughty Ferry station. For example:
Broughty Ferry to Glasgow Anytime Single
Exisiting Price        New Price
£26:30                   £20:70

While all these ticket reductions listed are welcome, I know many travellers reply on saver tickets and few if any of these seem to be reduced.

I am glad that the Scottish Government and ScotRail have been prepared to listen to representations from me and regular rail users from the Ferry. I hope they are still listening because we still need a more regular train service to go with the new train fares plus a ticket vending machine on the platform. I also hope a regular hourly service for Broughty Ferry will be included in the new rail franchise for Scotland when it goes out to tender.


Damaged Grit Bin in Camphill Road to be Replaced

Residents from Camphill Road have contacted me to complain about the condition of their grit bin which is located on the pavement at the junction of Camphill Road with Dick Street in Broughty Ferry. 

On inspection the bin seems to have sustained an impact from a vehicle and is badly damaged. I have asked the Council to replace it.

Approaching this junction on Camphill Road (from the West) the road is narrow and twisting with parked cars on one side or the other. Passing cars often have to squeeze by at this corner. 

This damaged bin provides some more support to residents' claims that traffic should be restricted on the lower part of this road to stop non residents using it as a rat run.


Air Quality Study on Dundee Biomass Power Plant Published - 6 Week Consultation Begins

In pursuit of their application for permission to construct and run a biomass power station in the Dundee Docks, Forth Energy has submitted some new information concerning Air Quality. This is in the form of an Addendum to their original application (Addendum 2, April 2013). They have also produced a non-technical summary of this document.

There is now a further period within which to may make comments to the Scottish Government. The opportunity to make further comments closes on 16th May 2013.

If you wish to make any comments on Addendum 2, you can make these to the Scottish Government as follows: 
  • In writing to the Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit, 4th Floor, 5 Atlantic Quay, 150 Broomielaw, Glasgow, G2 8LU.
  • Or by email to
The full report and the non-technical summary are available for viewing or download.     Full Report      Summary Report

Previous comments made on the original biomass application remain valid.


Cheaper Rail Fares from Dundee From 19 May BUT Will This Apply to Ferry Fares Too?

I'm pleased that the Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSP, has announced reduced Dundee rail fares from 19 May 2013. Over 1500 "split ticketing" inconsistencies throughout Scotland will end thanks to a £2.28 million grant from Transport Scotland.

It is claimed that the move will ensure that end-to-end fares will be at least 50p cheaper than buying one ticket part of the way to a destination, and a second ticket to complete the journey. These changes should remove expensive anomalies in fares from Dundee which gave rise to the Tay Tax campaign led by Dundee based Labour MSP, Jenny Marra.

For example, next month fares from Dundee to Portlethan will be cut by £11.30 (41%), to Aberdeen by £9.40 (34%), to Edinburgh by £7 (30%) and to Stirling by £5 (27%).

The new cheaper fares will be very welcome news for Dundee rail commuters. Dundee businesses will also welcome the cheaper fares as this could help attract more visitors into the City. With the VandA development, cheaper fares into Dundee should help build visitor numbers.

ScotRail have pointed out while the new deal will end split-ticketing on more popular journeys, it may still be possible to find a cheaper deal by stringing together several legs of a journey, or splitting less common fares.

It is not clear whether the changes will also help remove anomalies in the rail fares to and from Broughty Ferry which I have regularly highlighted. I hope that fares from our station are not some of the less popular routes ScotRail and the Scottish Government have overlooked. I have written to ScotRail to ask for clarification on this.


Hazardous Dropped Bollard in Dawson Park Reported

Click on image to enlarge
A constituent, who is a regular dog walker in Dawson Park, contacted me to complain about a dropped bollard in Dawson Park.

They were worried that it meant that vehicles that would otherwise be prevented by the barrier from driving into the park might now take a wrong turn into the grassed area. 

Click on image to enlarge

Additionally, they thought that the barrier lying prostrate on the ground presented a trip hazard.

I of course decided not to model my response on Bob Servant Independent, who infamously proposed to ban dogs from Dawson Park.

I have requested that Staff from the Environment Department secure the bollard with a padlock.



Dundee MSYP Involved in UK Campaign for a Curriculum for Life

Daniel Coleman, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP) for Dundee West, was at the UK Westminster parliament in mid March for a meeting of the Youth Select Committee. This new body mirrors the UK Parliament Select Committee structure and gives young people the opportunity to scrutinise and hold enquiries into topics they're interested in. On 18th March they discussed their topic for 2013, 'Education for Life'.

It is very positive that Dundee and Scotland should be represented by Dundee West MSYP Daniel Coleman on the UK wide Youth Select Committee on ‘Education for Life’.

While Education is a devolved to the Scottish Parliament, it seems clear that this inquiry in London also has relevance in Dundee. At the AGM of the Dundee Youth Council on Thursday 28 March, Daniel was elected as the Chair of the Dundee Youth Council for 2013/14. He spoke at the AGM about his involvement in the new Select Committee. He drew links to the results of the survey of over 4000 young people by the Dundee Youth Council which also revealed some concerns with the curriculum in our secondary schools. For example, while young people in Dundee think they are prepared to pass exams, they believe that:
 'they require more support to develop the knowledge and understanding of the day to day financial decision making they will face once they leave home.' (Dundee Youth Manifesto 2013).

I look forward to more opportunities for meetings with Daniel and members of the Dundee Youth Council to listen to their wider list of concerns and aspirations for education in Dundee and to explore ways to help make that happen in our nine Secondary schools in Dundee.


Evening Classes in Broughty Ferry for the Summer Term - 6 Weeks from Monday 15 April 2013

Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association (BERA) have recently announced that their programme of Evening Classes will run for six weeks from week beginning Monday 15 April 2013, the week the schools go back after the Easter break.

Enrolment for new adult learners will be during the first week of the new term.

Most classes will be held in Grove Academy but Ballroom Dancing and Zumba will be held at Forthill Primary School (FPS). 

Programme of Classes

Classes run from 15, 16 and 18 April 2013 for six weeks.

Mondays starting 15 April 2013

  • Guitar (mixed levels; cont) (limited numbers) (A Easton) 6.00-8.30, £26
  • Local History (cont) (T Cox) 7.00-9.00, £25
  • Spanish (cont beginners) (J Martinez) 7.00-8.30, £21
  • Zumba (all levels)  (L Linton) 6.30-7.30, £15 (Forthill PS gym)

Tuesdays starting 16 April 2013

  • Bridge (cont beginners) (R McPaul) 7.30-9.00, £21
  • Creative Sewing & Needlecrafts (limited numbers) (K Wright) 6.30-8.30, £30
  • Italian (cont beginners) (A Forbes) 6.00-7.30, £21
  • Italian (advanced) (A Forbes) 7.30-9.00, £21
  • Spanish (advanced) (J Martinez) 7.00-9.00, £25
  • Yoga (M Milne), 6.00-7.30, £21

Thursdays starting 18 April 2013

  • Ballroom Dancing (Forthill Primary School;mixed levels) (V McKay) 7.00-9.00, £25
  • French (intermediate/advanced) (D Boylan) 6.00-8.00, £25
  • Italian (intermediate 1; cont) (A Forbes) 6.00-7.30, £21
  • Italian (intermediate 2; cont) (A Forbes) 7.30-9.00, £21
  • Yoga (M Allsop) 7.00-8.30, £21


We Are All In This Together - Not

Today, Monday 1st April, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition's unfair Bedroom Tax will start hitting hundred of thousands of families nationwide. 

Those households with a home they rent from the Council or a Housing Association who are judged to have a spare bedroom will lose a proportion of their Housing Benefit. The under occupation penalty is 14% of the actual rent disallowed for calculating Housing Benefit for one 'bedroom' and 25% disallowed for two, or more, 'bedrooms'. 

Cutting benefits to under-occupying tenants when there is little or no alternative accommodation in the social rented sector will just burden Council and Housing Association landlords with rising rent arrears and risks making people homeless. 

On Saturday 6th April 13,000 UK millionaires will get an average tax cut of £100,000 each.

So much for "We're all in this together."

Link to Council Information about Benefit Changes