31/08/2015

Missing Bollard and Trip Hazard Reported

Missing Bollard in Queen Street Car Park Broughty Ferry August 2015
A constituent contacted to to complain about a missing bollard in the Queen Street Car Park. The missing bollard - see image top left - is at the end of a line of bollards closing off an earlier access point for vehicles from Gray Street.

The gap that has been exposed between the yellow Taxi Cabin and the remaining bollard looks large enough for a car to squeeze through. 

Not only is the missing bollard likely to encourage vehicles to use this 'entry point' but also it's a potential trip hazard as the exposed base has been hollowed out and might lead to a nasty trip for an unsuspecting pedestrian.

I have reported the missing bollard to the Roads' Maintenance Partnership. 

In the meanwhile, watch your step in this corner of the car park.

30/08/2015

Commenting on Continuing Teacher Shortages in Dundee

Teachers wanted in Scotland August 2015
According to the latest figures, Dundee Schools have begun the new school year with vacant teaching posts. While it is positive that, the figure is apparently less than this time last year, these shortages will undoubtedly put additional demands on our teachers as they provide cover. 

While the Director of Children and Families' Services and his staff should be congratulated for their efforts over the summer, it is clear that the supply of newly qualified teachers is currently insufficient to meet the demands in Dundee and throughout Scotland. 

The responsibility for this mess rests principally with the Cabinet Secretary for Education, in the Scottish Government, Angela Constance MSP. She will point to her recently increasing the intakes to teacher training courses, but she and her predecessors acted too slowly. As a result our teachers and pupils in our schools are paying the price.

Our pupils and teachers deserve better.

29/08/2015

Guys and Dolls - Another Remarkable Performance from Dundee Schools' Music Theatre

Last night at the Gardyne Theatre, S3 and S4 pupils from Dundee Secondary Schools gave an entertaining, polished and toe tapping performance of the classic Broadway musical, "Guys and Dolls".

This heartwarming musical follows some loveable gangsters desparately trying to win the next big bet. But one gets more than he gambled for......! 

This is the first time I had seen "Guys and Dolls", although, as it progressed, I realised I was already familiar with the popular songs "Luck be a Lady Tonight" and "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat".

Once again the pupils involved in Dundee Schools' Music Theatre (DSMT) have delivered a wonderful ensemble performance combined with some remarkable standout performances.

As one member of the audience remarked at the interval, DSMT are one of the jewels in Dundee's crown. 

28/08/2015

Proposed Over Night Closure of St Vincent Street between Monifieth Road and Brook Street for Rail Bridge Maintenance

Road Closure and Diversion Street Signs
Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating rail bridge maintenance works.  The Order is expected to be in force for 3 weeks from 12 September 2015.  Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in St Vincent Street between Monifieth Road and Brook Street.

Works will be carried out on a night shift and therefore the road will only be closed between 10 pm and 6 am.

An alternative route will be available via Brook Street, Gray Street and Queen Street.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to Mark Cobb, Network Management Team, City Development Department, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee  DD1 1LS, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date.  If you have any queries please contact Mr Cobb on 01382 433082.

27/08/2015

Enrolment Night for Evening Classes at Grove Academy Monday 31st August 2015 from 6.30 pm

Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association evening classes at Grove Academy, Dundee
Enrolment for BERA's new programme of classes (read or download a copy here) will take place at Grove Academy on Monday 31st August 2015 from 6:30pm.

If you are unable to attend on Enrolment Night you can make an application by post using the Enrolment form.

The new 10-week programme starts Monday 7 September 2015.

Half-term dates Monday 12 October to Friday 23 October 2015.


There will be no classes on Tuesday 17th November 2015.

Spanish classes will not take place on Tuesday 15th, Thursday 17th or Tuesday 22nd September. Tutors will make arrangements with students to make up these times.

Notes:

  • Payment by cheque or cash preferred (exact money please at time of enrolment).
  • Fees cannot be refunded unless a class is cancelled.
  • Classes will only run if there is a minimum of 12 students.
  • Classes will be held at Grove Academy unless otherwise stated.
  • To enrol by post, to keep up with any changes, or for further information please contact us through the website, please do not contact the school.
  • There is disabled access to all classes.
  • Enrolment for new and existing students is also possible during the first two weeks of the new term.

25/08/2015

Commission on Local Tax Reform EVENT IN DUNDEE Wednesday 26 August, 6pm

The Commission on Lacal Tax Reform in Scotland
The Commission on Local Tax Reform is holding a public listening event this Wednesday evening in Dundee. The event will be held in the Hegarty Suite at Dundee United's stadium and starts at 6pm, with light refreshments available from 5.30pm.   

The Commission on Local Tax Reform is a cross-party, politically independent commission established by the First Minister and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) earlier this year to examine alternatives to the current Council Tax. This week's event is an important opportunity to help shape the future of local taxation in Dundee and Scotland.

Entry to the event is free but places are limited. To help the Commission monitor attendance, entry is by pre-registration, online at http://dundeecab.eventbrite.co.uk, email via  info@localtaxcommission.scot or by calling 0131 474 9332.  The commission hope to see you on Wednesday and ask that you don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of their inquiry in more detail.

24/08/2015

Commenting on the Dundee Community Learning and Development Strategy 2015-18

Community Learning and Development in Dundee
The three year strategy for Community Learning and Development in the city is a comprehensive and aspirational document. Unfortunately, it will be considered near the end of the agenda of the Policy and Resources Committee meeting on Monday night which follows three other Council committee meetings. The Community Learning and Development Strategy may not therefore receive the detailed attention it deserves.

What could be more important for our Council than ensuring that work with our young people, adult literacy and numeracy including computer literacy, and community engagement are all developed over the coming years? 

The Community Learning and Development staff should be congratulated on a series of external assessments that have rated their services as 'sector leading'. The question for me is whether we are investing enough to ensure that the existing services are sustained and the unmet needs listed in the strategy are likely to be met during the next three years.

If we are serious about making Dundee a fairer city, then Community Learning and Development practitioners are part of the answer working alongside other partners and services.

23/08/2015

Please Sponsor me Pedaling the 50+ miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh on Sunday 6 September 2015


On Sunday 6 September 2015, I will be cycling the roads and miles from Glasgow Green to Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. 

Please sponsor me and thereby help support the work of Tushinde Children’s Trust

Tushinde is a charity working to support over 300 vulnerable children who live in the sprawling Mathare slums in Nairobi. Tushinde provides food, family care and education to children from the poorest families in Mathare. They help families stay together by sharing the financial burden. Tushinde does this by raising money for the sponsorship of children, supporting schools as well as raising money for specific projects.

Please sponsor me
https://www.justgiving.com/Laurie-Bidwell7

22/08/2015

Open Night about Evening Classes at Grove Academy 7.30 - 8.30 pm on Monday 24 August 2015

Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association evening classes at Grove Academy, Dundee Autumn 2015
Don't miss the open night at Grove Academy from 7.30 - 8.30 pm on Monday 24 August 2015.

Prospective students can meet the class tutors. 

This should ensure everyone has a chance to find out more about what each of the evening classes involves.

Further information will be available on social media. 


An enrolment evening follows on Monday 31 August 2015 from 6.30 pm.

Read or download BERA's programme of Evening Classes for Autumn Term 2015

21/08/2015

Applications for Funding Supported by The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership

The Ferry (Broughty Ferry, Dundee) Local Community Planning Partnership logo
The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership met early evening yesterday for our quarterly meeting in the Broughty Ferry Library.

Carole Jenkins, our Community Planning Officer, updated the partnership about applications for funding supported by the partnership.

This are as follows:


  1. Broughty Ferry Traders Association. Application for help towards paying for the stage for the Christmas Lights Switch On event in December 2015
  2. An application for the purchase of a laptop and projector plus the relevant software has been received on behalf of all community groups in the Ferry. This will enable local groups and organisations to be able to hold presentations at community events and meetings.
  3. Grove Academy. Application for the continuation of funding for their programme jointly delivered in the school by Broughty Ferry Baptist Church, guidance teachers and the Community Learning and Development Youth Team.
  4. Barnhill Play Group. Application for assistance with help with their rental costs which have increased significantly over the last year.
  5. Grove Academy. Application for the installation of Wi-Fi hubs throughout the school which will aid the learning and teaching throughout the school and will allow Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association (BERA) and other community groups access to the internet in order to deliver adult learning.

Funding for these projects is awaiting final approval at the Council's Policy and Resources Committee on Monday 24th August 2015.

20/08/2015

BT OpenReach Do a Great Job Beyond the Call of Duty

Pavement defect fixed in Queen Street Broughty Ferry
The hazard fixed
Last week I contacted BT OpenReach about an exposed inspection cover in the pavement close to the entrance to St Mary's Episcopal Church on Queen Street - see photo below.

This area of the pavement has been fenced off but it has been reported to me that the fence had been blown or knocked over exposing the inspection hatch and the displaced cover. 

This was a potential trip hazard.

The next day from reporting this, a BT OpenReach engineer called to let me know that the inspection hatch had been reset in the pavement and all was now well. 
Pavement defect in Queen Street Broughty Ferry
The pavement defect before
intervention by BT

He did however let me know that the inspection cover and box beneath the pavement belonged to Virgin Media and not BT. The confusion had been caused by the temporary protective fencing that had blown over was the property of BT and had been clearly marked as such.


So well done for BT Open Reach going above and beyond the call of duty. 

19/08/2015

Cllr Laurie Bidwell Announces Changes to his Surgeries from August 2015

Following a review of inquiries I have received from constituents, it is clear that an increasing proportion of folk are contacting me via phone, email and social media and a decreasing proportion come to meet me at a weekly surgery. 

Directly contacting me by phone or email usually results in constituents' concerns and issues being reported and dealt with more quickly than waiting up to a week for my next surgery.

I have decided therefore to focus my surgery time at Broughty Ferry Library with effect from Tuesday 18 August 2015. In addition, I shall continue to undertake home or site visits when these are requested.

Contact Details for Cllr Laurie Bidwell

telephone: 01382 738566 home - 01382 434110 office - 07932 701287 mobile
email: laurie.bidwell@dundeecity.gov.uk
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/councillorlauriebidwell

Weekly Surgery
Broughty Ferry Library 
Queen Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 2HN
5:30 - 6:00 pm Every Tuesday (school term time only)

Alternatively request a home visit

18/08/2015

Evening Classes at Grove Academy in Broughty Ferry September to December 2015

Earlier today, Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association published an electronic copy of their programme of evening classes for the Autumn Term 2015 (September to December).

Read or download BERA's programme of Evening Classes for Autumn Term 2015

Paper copies of the programme will also be available in the Broughty Ferry Library and other public areas, as well as on the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/beragrove) and on the website from mid-August.

For more information or to find out about enrolling by post, visit beradundee.org.uk or email info@beradundee.org.uk

17/08/2015

First Ferry Food Fayre a Great Success

Ferry Food Fayre Broughty Ferry August 2915
The Ferry Food Fayre held yesterday attracted around a thousand people to the Best Western Woodlands Hotel. The event was free and featured tastings, talks and demonstrations courtesy of some of the town’s bakers, greengrocers, restaurateurs and publicans.

On Sunday night, Jan McTaggart, the main organiser who suggested a food event to the Committee of the Broughty Ferry Traders' Association said:
"It’s been an incredible day. To be honest we were all quite staggered by the sheer numbers of people who came along to The Woodlands Hotel where the ballroom was pretty packed for the first couple of hours. The atmosphere was terrific and I know that several of the stall holders had to run out to replenish supplies. I’m really impressed by all the work that everybody put into the Food Fayre.
All the feedback so far indicates that we’ll need to think bigger and even better if we’re going to do it again!
"

16/08/2015

Suffragette City - an Illustrated Talk by Norman Watson Wednesday 30 September 2015 at 7pm

Journalist and historian Norman Watson, who has researched the suffrage movement for over 25 years, will offer an illustrated talk on Dundee’s militant suffragettes and their remarkable struggle to win votes for women.

Wednesday 30 September 2015 at 7pm

Broughty Ferry Community Library Queen Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 2HN
Tickets £2 each available from Broughty Ferry Library
T: 01382 436919   E: broughty.library@leisureandculturedundee.com
Refreshments and a raffle on the night.

15/08/2015

ALDI Reveal Strategy for a New Store in Broughty Ferry

ALDI logo
Discount supermarket chain, ALDI, have recently revealed their strategy for stores in Dundee, including one in Broughty Ferry. In a recent communication with City Councillors, the Property Director at Aldi, who has responsibility for their new store programme throughout Scotland, has revealed their city-wide investment strategy for up to six Aldi stores. The map attached clearly indicates their aspiration for a new store serving Broughty Ferry.

14/08/2015

BERA Launch Programme of Evening Classes in Broughty Ferry Autumn Term 2015

BERA's programme of evening classes in Broughty Ferry September - December 2015
BERA, a registered charity and voluntary organisation in Broughty Ferry, has been delivering adult evening classes for around 30 years.

Their 2015-16 autumn session starts on September 7 2015 and runs for 10 weeks (with a break for the October school holidays).

Most classes will be at Grove Academy, with zumba, mature movers (an activity class aimed at older people) and ballroom dancing taking place at Forthill Primary.

Other classes will include old favourites like languages, bridge, yoga and meditation, needlecraft and there will be some new opportunities including jewellery, acting and bakery.

There is a strict minimum of 12 enrolments required per class. This is to avoid any rise in fees, which currently compare favourably with those of other providers.

There will be an open night at Grove Academy from 7.30-8.30pm on August 20, where prospective students can meet members of the BERA committee and the tutors, giving everyone a chance to find out what the classes involve.

Further information will be available on social media. An enrolment evening follows on August 31 from 6.30pm.

Read or download BERA's programme of Evening Classes

Paper copies of the programme will also be available in the Broughty Ferry Library and other public areas, as well as on the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/beragrove) and on the website from mid-August.

For more information or to find out about enrolling by post, visit beradundee.org.uk or email info@beradundee.org.uk

13/08/2015

Lack of Parity in Dundee Schools Compared with Other Councils

School children crossing warning road sign
Dundee Does not Measure Up
Over the last fortnight, a number of press articles have revealed that schooling in Dundee does not measure up very well compared with other councils in Scotland. 

Unfilled Teaching Posts
One week before the beginning of the new school year, is was revealed that Dundee City Council still has 28 teaching posts to fill – 13 in primary schools and 15 in secondary schools.

I was informed that last August some newly qualified teachers, who had agreed to take a teaching post with the Council, failed to turn up at the beginning of term, as presumably they had received a 'better' offer elsewhere. Unfortunately, therefore, the 28 teacher vacancies probably understates the shortage of teachers from day one of the new school year on Tuesday.

Bearing in mind the likely number of demands for long term cover in the classroom during the forthcoming session, including maternity leave, it looks as though it is going to be another tough year for our teachers covering for absent and under recruited staff.

The Director and the Education Convener, Councillor Hunter, need to come up with a plan 'B' if Dundee is to meet its commitment to maintain teacher numbers. This will become apparent when the teacher and pupil census is undertaken in September.

Hours of Schooling
A recent report from Reform Scotland has revealed that Dundee pupils receive 855 hours of tuition a year in Primary and Secondary schools whereas in Aberdeenshire Council and West Dunbartonshire Council pupils receive 1,000 hours per year in primary school and 1,100 hours per year in secondary school.

The report shows that when these hours are calculated over a child's entire compulsory schooling from age 5 to 16, this adds up to more than two years worth less teaching time for Dundee pupils compared with pupils in Aberdeenshire. 

More time spent in the classroom does not necessarily correspond with better learning outcomes, but the equivalent of two years difference is a very substantial variation.

The law of Scotland only defines the minimum number of school days each year and not the number of hours of teaching and learning each day, week and throughout the school year; this is left to the discretion of the Council. 

Clothing Grants
In 2009 a Scottish government working group proposed a minimum level for a school clothing grant of £70. Six years later, BBC Scotland revealed that: "parents on a low income could be given anything from £20 to £110 to put towards school uniforms each year." In Dundee, we have been informed, grants are restricted to £50 which is 29% below the minimum level recommended six years ago. 

This hardly seems adequate or fair in a city with significant levels of poverty.

Meeting with the Director of Children and Families' Services
I will be raising all these issues at my meeting with Michael Wood, the Director of Children and Families' Services next week.

12/08/2015

Public Meeting on Proposed Local Government Boundary Changes in Broughty Ferry Tuesday 1st September 2015

Broughty Ferry Community Council Special Meeting September 2015
On Tuesday evening 1st September 2015, Broughty Ferry Community Council, will be turning over their entire meeting to consider the proposals from the Boundary Commission for Local Government in Scotland. 

The Commission have proposed to remove West Ferry, west of Victoria Road and Claypotts Road, from 'The Ferry' local government ward.  This is in conjunction with other ward boundary changes in Dundee.

More details about these proposals are contained in my earlier post.

NB This public meeting will be held in The Gym Hall of Eastern Primary School with access from Claypotts Road at the back of the School. Please note, due to other events on at the school, parking in the immediate vicinity of the school will be limited and restricted.

Broughty Ferry Community Council meet on the first Tuesday of every month (except July) in Broughty Ferry Library. 

11/08/2015

Complaint to BT OpenReach About Exposed Inspection Cover in Queen Street Pavement

Displaced manhole cover in pavement on Queen Street Broughty Ferry August 2015.
This morning I contacted BT OpenReach about an exposed inspection cover in the pavement close to the entrance to St Mary's Episcopal Church on Queen Street. 

This area of the pavement has been fenced off but it has been reported to me that the fence had been blown or knocked over exposing the inspection hatch and the displaced cover. This represents a potential trip hazard.

I also reported that this 'fault', next door to the telephone exchange building has been apparently unresolved for weeks and asked that the below ground 'fault' is resolved and the pavement reinstated.

05/08/2015

Enrolment for BERA Evening Classes in Broughty Ferry Autumn Term 2015

Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association (BERA) is a not for profit charity providing evening classes for adults in Grove Academy. 

BERA have recently announced that Enrolment night will be at Grove Academy on Monday evening 31st August 2015 and classes for the Autumn Term will commence in week beginning Monday 7th September 2015. 

Postal enrolling will also be available.

I will post more details about their programme of classes when these are available.

Update Tuesday 18 August 2015
Link to more recent posting about the BERA programme of evening classes for the Autumn Term 2015

04/08/2015

Commenting on SQA Exam Results in Dundee August 2015

Pupils holding SQA examination certificates
I warmly congratulate pupils and students in Dundee on all their successes in their various SQA examinations and assessments. These successes, notified earlier today to every candidate, will not be a flash in the pan but will be based on learning over a sustained period of time. I also want to acknowledge the dedication and the inspiration of our teachers and the encouragement and support from parents and carers who have all have been part of the story behind these successes.

Currently only Scotland wide statistics are publicly available. There are many questions outstanding today which require some answers from the Director of Education such as:
  • how do the results of our school pupils add up across the city?
  • how do these city wide results compare with previous years?
  • how did our pupils who sat the controversial Higher Maths paper get on and 
  • what do these examination results indicate about the 'attainment gap' in Dundee schools?
But for today, the focus should be on celebrating the positive results of our pupils who deserve their day enjoying their successes. Well done!

03/08/2015

Public Consultation Begins on Proposed Changes to Councillor Numbers and Ward Boundaries in Dundee

Map of proposed new local government boundaries for Ward 8 The Ferry in Dundee City Council July 2015
Click on image to enlarge
The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland recently published their recommendations for changes to the number of Councillors and the boundaries of electoral wards in Scotland’s 32 council areas including for Dundee City Council.

The Commission have proposed new boundaries for Ward 8 "The Ferry" which, if implemented, would exclude most of West Ferry. The map shows that the western boundary of the ward would run up Victoria Road and Claypotts Road.

The Commission are running a 12 week national consultation which runs until Thursday 22 October 2015.

Find out more about the proposals at http://www.lgbc-scotland.gov.uk/reviews/5th_electoral/dundee_city/ or by visiting the exhibition of the maps and documents in Broughty Ferry Library. Paper copies of the proposals are available at the Library.

Comments on the Commission's proposals should be submitted by Thursday 22 October 2015: