30/03/2015

School Leavers' Performance Information for all Secondary Schools in Dundee now Available Online

School Leaver Examination Results in Dundee
Parents and carers, in fact any member of the public, now has access to a set of 'results' based on the performance of school leavers from S4-S6 in 2014.
 

For the first time, alongside details of each school's SQA examination results there are figures for pupil destinations and a measure by measure comparison with a 'virtual comparator school'.

"Considering these measures alongside data on a sample of school leavers from other parts of Scotland allows schools to compare their performance. The sample group is made up of school leavers who are similar to the school's own school leavers, in terms of factors that are known to influence educational outcomes (such as social context and additional support needs). This sample group is called the virtual comparator." Education Scotland.

This information has been published on Parentzone Scotland. It aims to give parents and carers more information about schools alongside other resources such as school websites and handbooks.

The new information, which covers all secondary schools in Scotland, can be found by visiting Parentzone Scotland and searching by school name. Scroll down to the foot of a secondary school's page and select View Performance Data.

Link to Grove Academy Performance Data

25/03/2015

Abertay only European University in Princeton's best places to study Game Design

Abertay University Dundee
Congratulations to Abertay University as the only European university to be ranked in the prestigious Princeton Review's just-published list for 2015 of the 'Top 25 Schools to Study Game Design'.

In the graduate list, Abertay is the only non-US institution listed, and in the undergraduate list Abertay is one of only two non-US institutions, the other being a college in Vancouver, Canada.

The Princeton Review ranked the universities based on a survey it conducted in 2014-15 of 150 institutions offering game design courses in the United States, Canada, and some countries abroad.

The company's 50-question survey asked universities to report on everything from their academic offerings and faculty credentials to their graduates’ starting salaries and employment experience.

17/03/2015

Tree Felling at Armistead Development Site

Felling of Monterey Cypress at Redevelopment of former Armistead Clinic Monifieth Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, 17 March 2015
Earlier today, whilst out dog walking on Reres Hill, I noticed and heard some activity on the other side of Monifieth Road at the site of the former Armistead Clinic.


As I got closer, I could see a figure clambouring up the trunk of the most prominent pine tree at the front of the former clinic. I could also hear their chain saw as they lopped off the lower limbs of this fine tree.


I immediately rang the Council's Conservation Officer and sent my picture to the Council's Forestry Officer. They were able to confirm that this tree felling had been properly sanctioned by the approved planning approval for the redevelopment of this site.


Futhermore, this particular tree was a 'Monterey Cypress' (a species of cypress native to the Central Coast of California) which had previously been subject to a tree preservation order.


One positive from witnessing this tree felling was that this is an indicator that the developer is beginning site clearance prior to beginning the conversion of Armistead House into apartments and the building of some new build houses on the wider site. I am sure the neighbours will be relieved when this long empty site has been redeveloped.


Further details about the history of Armistead House are available from the Building at Risk Register.

16/03/2015

Sort Out Concerns About New Recycling Services at 5 Drop-Ins 16-20 March 2015

Your new recycling services in Dundee, Front cover of public information booklet issued March 2015
A significant number of constituents have been contacting me over the last few weeks about the introduction of the new recycling services in The Ferry.

Whether your new bins have arrived or not, whether you want them or not, whether alternative communal bins are right for your close or group of properties or block of flats, whatever your query or concern:

There are five opportunities to meet members of the Environment Department this week in Broughty Ferry Library as follows:

Monday 16th March 10am - 12pm
Monday 16th March 5pm - 7pm
Wednesday 18th March 12pm - 2pm
Friday 20th March 10am - 12pm
Friday 20th March 5pm - 7pm
all at Broughty Ferry Library Queen Street,
Broughty Ferry Dundee DD5 2HN

Of course, if you or your neighbours have remaining issues that can't be resolved directly with the Environment Department, please do not hesitate to contact me.

12/03/2015

Eastern Primary School Redevelopment Stalled

Eastern Primary School prior to redevelopment in 2015
Earlier today, Muirfield Construction went into administration. The workforce of the Dundee based building contractors had reportedly been sent home.

This was really bad news for Muirfield's staff and the workforce of their sub-contractors. It is also bad for the city in that Muirfield Construction are the last remaining major building contractor based in Dundee. 

Residents of Whinny Brae didn't take long to notice that the conversion work on the former Eastern Primary School had abruptly stopped mid week. 

Later on Wednesday, the Directors of TOR Homes, the owners of the former school, issued a statement saying;
that,  
"The Directors of TOR Homes remain fully committed to the redevelopment of the former Eastern Primary School, Broughty Ferry despite losing Muirfield Contracts, the main project contractor, following their recent announcement that they will be going into administration."


The company acquired the vacant Eastern Primary School from Dundee City Council and successfully applied for planning permission to convert this A-listed, Edwardian school into Eastern Residences - 27 luxury apartments.
Paul Millan, Director, TOR Homes, said today:
"To lose our main contractor at the outset of this construction project is a major setback. However, we have been working on our vision for two years and remain 100% committed to completing the project."
"On this week's news it would be premature for us to predict future timescales but we will be working hard to replace our main contractor and will make further announcements on the revised building programme in due course.”

11/03/2015

Car Parking Improvements in Gillies Park Underway

Car park resurfacing underway in Gillies Park Broughty Ferry, March 2015
On Tuesday afternoon between my surgeries, I visited Gillies Park to see how the work is progressing on upgrading the Car Park and improving the lighting.

The quite deep trenches were not quite what I had expected to see.


On subsequent inquiry from the City Engineer, I found that these trenches had been excavated to improve drainage in this area of Gillies Park and to provide access to cabling for the improvements to the lighting.

10/03/2015

Successful Cycling Engagement Event

Cycling Engagement Event at Dundee City Council 09.03.2015
Last night after attending Council Committee meetings in the main Council Chambers, I joined the latter part of the Cycling engagement event held in the Council's Committee rooms.

In the first event of its kind, close to seventy folk with an interest in cycling attended the event and took part in lively discussions in a round robin of three groups.


From this meeting, it is hoped a regular Cycling Forum will be formed. Participants were informed by staff from the Transportation Department that feedback from the initial event and subsequent meetings of the Cycling Forum will help inform future plans for cycling in our city.

On the basis of the turn out last night, I am optimistic that many of the interested individuals and organizations represented will want to sustain and develop their engagement with the Council's transportation department through participation in a Cycling Forum. 

Those folk who were not able to attend the meeting last night may send in their views or indicate their interest in being involved in future meetings of the Cycling Forum by emailing cycling@dundeecity.gov.uk

09/03/2015

Five Drop-In Roadshows to Sort Out Broughty Bin Queries in Week Beginning Monday 16 March 2015

Recycling and Waste Collection Roadshow Posters March 2015
Over half of the homes in Broughty Ferry will be shifted over to a new pattern of recycling and waste collections before the end of the month. Each household in the first phase of the new scheme should have already received an introductory letter about the changes and how it might affect them. 

This will involve new collections of household food waste in sealed containers and a change to additional bin collections and recycling containers. For those households that can't accommodate the new 'bins' there will be an offer of shared communal euro-bins and improved local recycling centres.

Roughly speaking it is the Eastern half of The Ferry which is in phase one. Click on this link to see map showing which parts of Broughty Ferry will start their new recycling services later this month.

If you or your neighbours have further concerns and queries, you can take advantage of the five drop-in sessions in week beginning 16 March that have been arranged at Broughty Ferry Library:

  • Monday 16th March 10am - 12pm
  • Monday 16th March 5pm - 7pm 
  • Wednesday 18th March 12pm - 2pm 
  • Friday 20th March 10am - 12pm
  • Friday 20th March 5pm - 7pm 
all at Broughty Ferry Library Queen Street, Broughty Ferry Dundee DD5 2HN

Of course, if you or your neighbours have remaining issues that can't be resolved directly with the Environment Department, please do not hesitate to contact me.

08/03/2015

Broughty Ferry Gains Further Recognition in Sunday Times Best Places to Live in Britian

The Sunday Times Best Places to Live in Britain 2015 Logo
Broughty Ferry has today been rated 16th best place to live in Great Britain and second only in Scotland to Old Aberdeen.

Earlier today the Sunday Times published their list of 50 best places to live in Britain 2015. 

In the second part of their guide, they explain that the "focus is on the best of urban Britain, from prime neighbourhoods in our biggest metropolises to smaller cities that shine as a whole."


Description of Broughty Ferry in Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2015
Click on image to enlarge
In making their award, this is what the judges wrote about Broughty Ferry:
16 Dundee, Brought Ferry
"Nestling beneath a 16th century Castle and away from the smog and noise of central Dundee, Broughty Ferry is a picture perfect former fishing village that's netting ever more interest. ..... "

This is the second time in six months that The Ferry has been nominated for a prestigious award. In the Autumn 2014, it came close to winning the UK Academy of Urbanism Best Neighbourhood Award and made the last three.


Very well done to all Ferry Folk, our businesses and public services, our community and voluntary organisations that together with our outstanding natural environment make Broughty Ferry such a great place to live.

05/03/2015

Cycling Consultation by City Council Monday 9 March

Context and Assessment for Cycling in Dundee - Cycling Scotland 2013
Click on image to enlarge
Cyclists from all over Dundee are invited to an engagement meeting with council chiefs. The meeting will take place at 14 City Square on Monday (March 9) at 6.30pm. 

It has been set up to help the creation of a cycling strategy for Dundee and it is hoped it could lead to regular discussions.

The Council is keen to hear from cyclists about the facilities, attitudes and issues surrounding their experiences of using their bikes in Dundee and hope to be able to develop that into a framework for maintaining and improving of all aspects of cycling in the city. 

Individual cyclists, cycling businesses and cycling groups have been invited to the event at 14 City Square to take part in discussions and workshops that will help shape the strategy document. As well as discussing the future strategy, it's hoped to establish a regular cycling forum that will establish and maintain dialogue between cyclists and the council. 

Looking at the 2013 report from Cycling Scotland, summarized in the diagram above, I think there is clearly room for improvement. It's miles better but there are miles to go. 

Hopefully this event and future meetings of the Forum will help Dundee become a city that has made the changes so that cycling in our city becomes a more positive option and more short journeys are made and enjoyed by bike instead of by car.

A new e-mail address - cycling@dundeecity.gov.uk - will allow cyclists to pass on feedback after the meeting.

04/03/2015

Positive Responses to Missing Yellow Lines and Gillies Park Improvements

Click on image to enlarge
On Sunday I wrote about the missing yellow lines that had not been repainted at the junction of Brook Street, Westfield Road, Dundee Road and Claypotts Road after it had been resurfaced. I followed this up by contacting staff at the City Council.

I received a very prompt explanation from the Roads Maintenance Partnership that the yellow lining had not been forgotten  but that "the line painting lorry is currently under repair and the double yellow lines will be repainted once the lorry is back in working order."

On Monday, I visited Gillies Park in Barnhill which is located next to Barnhill Primary School and is accessed by road from Ceres Crescent and by foot from Abercromby Street and Falkland Crescent.  I had been expecting to see that the badly rutted car park had been resurfaced and improvements to the lighting in the park had been installed. Having seen that no work had been started and mindful of the fact that funding for this project was available until the end of March, I wrote to the engineer in charge of projects like this. 

The good news is that work at Gillies Park will likely start either later this week or early next week. The staff involved have also reassured me that they will provide advance warning to Barnhill Primary School of the definite start date on site.

03/03/2015

No Progress Surfacing Parking Area in Gillies Park

Car Park in Gillies Park in Barnhill, Broughty Ferry, 2 March 2015
Click on Image to enlarge
In the Autumn of last year before he retired, Chief Executive David Dorward committed the Council to provide a proper surface to the Car Park in Gillies Park and install better lighting. 

Subsequently funds were approved to do the job before the end of the 2014-15 financial year later this month.

This commitment recognized that when the weather was wet the surface of the car park become a bit of a quagmire which turn into pot holes. It is especially bad by the entrance to the car park from Ceres Crescent. It was hoped that surfacing the car park for the first time would not only improve access for parents and carers picking up and dropping off their children at Barnhill Primary School but also provide better access to the park for recreational users such as the footballers who use the pitches.

Yesterday, when I visited Gillies Park, there was no evidence of a start on site. As there are only four weeks to go before the end of the financial year, I written to the Council to inquire about when the work is programmed and to ensure that commitment has not been forgotten.

02/03/2015

New Come to Broughty Ferry Website Launched

Come to Broughty Ferry Website New Homepage March 2015
Click on image to enlarge
This week Broughty Ferry Traders' Association (BFTA) unveiled their redesigned website Come to Broughty Ferry which is now up and running. The new site features stunning photography and is designed to be a hub for information on local events and to attract new visitors to The Ferry.

As well as being a useful source of information, the site showcases the stunning work of local photographers, showing how beautiful our town, its beaches and attractions are while promoting the work of these talented artists.

This, added to the popular Broughty Ferry Facebook page www.facebook.com/cometobroughty with over 3,500 likers, means that the BFTA is making a significant contribution to promoting Broughty Ferry.

Well done The Traders!

01/03/2015

Brook Street Junction Reopens - Missing Yellow Lines

Resurfaced Junction of Brook Street, Westfield Road, Dundee Road, and Claypotts Road Broughty Ferry March 2015
After five days of closure, the busy junction of Brook Street, Westfield Road, Dundee Road and Claypotts Road in Broughty Ferry reopened on Friday.

The temporary road closure was to allow the surface of this busy crossroads to be burnt off and to be entirely resurfaced to a good depth. The junction needed a thorough resurfacing because of wear and tear from a high volume of traffic and weather damage. These factors had led to ripples in the road and pot holes that had been filled and refilled over the years.

While Tayside Contracts only required five working days to complete the job, unfortunately not all the road markings are yet in place.

As you can see, the double yellow lines at each of the corners have not yet been painted in.

I have written to the Council to let them know that the lines still need repainting before this job is signed off.