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30/12/2016

Jobs Available Now with Dundee City Council

Jobs available with Dundee City Council - Apply Now
Here at Dundee City Council recruitment doesn't stop over the festive period. The Council currently has over 20 jobs advertised; could there be one for you? 

As part of Dundee City Council's equal opportunity policy, applications are welcome from persons regardless of disability, marital status, race or sex. Unless stated otherwise, posts are open to job sharing.

Click on this link to see the full range of jobs currently available

29/12/2016

Broughty Ferry Dook Sunday 1st January 2017

Broughty Ferry Dook
The Broughty Ferry Dook — which is organised by Ye Amphibious Ancients' Bathing Association — gets under way at 11:00 on Sunday. The detailed programme is as follows:
11:00 Arrival Music by Bruce Whamond
12:00 noon Horn's Carnival Start
13:00 Boath Highland Dancers
13:20 Discovery Twirlers
13:50 Boath Highland Dancers. Fancy Dress Parade/Competition

14:30pm Welcome from YeAABA President Joyce McIntosh, Dook Sponsor Steve James of John James Roofing and Lord Provost Cllr Bob Duncan
14:45 Pipes and Drums of the 44th Boy's Brigade
15:00 Dook Start via Hooter
16:00 New Year's Day Raffle Draw at the Fort Hotel, Fort Street, Broughty Ferry. 

All Welcome.

28/12/2016

Consultation on Not Just A Roof - A Housing Options and Homelessness Strategic Plan for Dundee 2016 -2021.

Homelessness: Far From Fixed

The Dundee Housing Options and Homelessness Strategic Partnership is seeking your views on Not Just A Roof - A Housing Options and Homelessness Strategic Plan 2016 -2021.

You can provide your views by:
  
1) Completing a survey via the following link http://consult.dundeecity.gov.uk/limesurvey/index.php/229523/lang-en by 30th January 2017.

27/12/2016

Temporary Road Closures in Broughty Ferry on Monday 1st January 2017 Between 08:00 and 18:00 for The Dook

Road Closure
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL
AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY
being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of the Broughty Ferry “New Year Dook” Event

HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in:


  1. Beach Crescent (between St.Vincent Street and Gray Street) Broughty Ferry;
  2. Gray Street (between Beach Crescent and King Street), Broughty Ferry;
  3. St.Vincent Street (between Beach Crescent and King Street). Broughty Ferry and
  4. Castle Approach for its entire length.


This notice comes into effect on the 1st January 2017 between 08:00 and 18:00 hours.

The event will be controlled by Stewards and Police Scotland Officers will be in attendance.

Local diversion routes are available.

Access to premises (for businesses and residents only) will be maintained under the control of the Stewards.

For further information contact (01382) 433275.
Mike P Galloway
Executive Director of City Development
Dundeee City Council

26/12/2016

Dundee City Council Bin Collection and Recycling Over the Festive Period

Dundee City Council Service Arrangements Over Festive Period Household bin and trade waste collections from Monday 19th to Saturday 24th December 2016, Monday 26th to Saturday 31st December 2016 and Monday 2nd to Saturday 7th January 2017 will be carried out as normal.

All domestic recycling collections during the festive period will be carried out as scheduled. Please consult your collection calendar.

The Household Waste Recycling Centres at Riverside and Baldovie will be closed on Sunday 25th & Monday 26th December 2016 and Sunday 1st & Monday 2nd January 2017.  The centres will be open 9am - 4.15pm on all other days.

There will be no special collection / bulky uplift service from 23rd December 2016 until 4th January 2017.

If you have an item that could be re-used by someone else, please call The Community Re-Use Hub on 07565 811823.

13/12/2016

Westbay Court Residents Await Promised Improvements to Road Markings in Albert Road

Westbay Coiurt residents with Councillor Laurie Bidwell standing outside the entrance driveway that is regularly obstructed
Photo courtesy of Evening Telegraph 2016
Last Thursday I met two of the residents from Westbay Court to tell them about the improvements to road markings that the Council had offered to provide outside their block of apartments on Albert Road. This follows many months of campaigning about their entrance drive being obstructed by inconsiderately parked cars on the road outside.

Their concern has not just about their own convenience of being able to gain access to their driveway to their off street parking but also the safety of pedestrians walking along their street. They are especially concerned about the safety of young pupils from Eastern Primary School whose parents and carers use Albert Road as a street to park before walking their children into school. When cars and vans obstruct their driveway, the sight lines of Westbay Court residents are restricted when they are driving in and out. They need to see clearly that there are not approaching pedestrians as they approach crossing the pavement.

While what they have been offered is not all they had originally requested, they they have indicated they were willing to give this a try and hope that it works.

In the light of this meeting, I wrote to the Council to indicate that I was deferring my item from the agenda of the meeting of the City Development Committee last night and that the residents need not come forward for their deputation to the Committee. However, the residents have assured me that if there is any back sliding by the Council, they will not hesitate to resume their campaign with me.

11/12/2016

Carol Service on Tuesday 13 December 6pm Panmurefield Baptist Centre

Panmurefiled Community Carol Service 18 December 2013
Panmurefield Baptist Centre will be holding their Community Carol Service on Tuesday 13th December beginng at 6pm in the grounds of Panmurefield Baptist Centre, Lawers Drive.

They recommend you bring a torch, wrap up warmly and promise a warm welcome and hot chocolate.

Grove Pupils Make Short Films Premiered at DCA

Grove Academy Pupils involved in Discovery Fim School in Dundee 2016
Congratulations to Grove S6 pupils Teodora Yarkova and Rebecca McCulloch who applied, and were selected, to join the British Film Institute sponsored Discovery Film School held at Dundee Contemporary Arts this year. 

Teodora and Rebecca gave up a week of their October holidays and subsequent Thursday evenings to learn and gain cempetence in making films. They worked with ten other 16-19 year olds in two teams, each with a film tutor. Both teams wrote, cast, filmed and edited a short film which was shot on location in Dundee. 

Congratulations too for Isaac Gilbert from S3 who was cast for an important role in 'Little Sister'. 

These entertaining films were premiered in the DCA cinema yesterday. I was really impressed by the professionalism of the end result from the opening titles and music to the final credits. I particularly enjoyed the chase scenes in 'Little Sister' around the narrow wynds off the Nethergate and South Tay Street. 

I hope that it will be possible to arrange a screening of the films in school. 

Pupils in the senior phase who would like to gain experience behind the camera and will be 16 or over in October 2017 should be ready to fill in the application forms for the 2017 film school when these are available in the Summer Term 2017. No experience of practical filmmaking is required to take part, but applicants should be able to demonstrate an interest in film and a real commitment to the project.

09/12/2016

Broughty Ferry Electric Vehicle Rechargng Leads the Way

Electic vehicle charging hub in Queen Street Car Park, Broughty Ferry
At the Broughty Ferry Community Council meeting on Tuesday 6 December, the members received a presentation from Gary McRae from the Dundee City Council's City Development. He and a colleague came to consult our Community Councillors about their proposals for the Electric Vehicle Charging Hub at Queen Street car park.

The proposed new layout is pictured in the top left and bottom images. These proposals are described in more detail in a previous blog posting.

What Gary was able to reveal is how Dundee and Broughty Ferry are in the forefront of encouraging and facilitating switching to electric vehicles.

For example, the current rapid e-car charger in the Queen Street Car Park, pictured top right, is the most frequently used in Scotland. Hopefully the switch to low emission vehicles will help improve air quality in the City in general and Broughty Ferry.

08/12/2016

Broughty Ferry Flood Defences Further Consultation Tuesday 13th December at the Castle Green Leisure Centre from 11am to 7pm

Sample Panel of Proposed Flood Wall for Consultation Broughty Ferry December 2016
Have your say in the further consultation about the design of the proposed flood defences for Broughty Ferry. These defences will run from the Stannergate to Broughty Ferry Castle via Grassy Beach, Douglas Terrace, James Place, Fisher Street and Beach Crescent. 

The drop in consultation event will be held on Tuesday 13th December 2016 at the Castle Green Leisure Centre from 11am to 7pm.

This event will provide an update on the project and seek opinion on the latest design proposal. A sample panel of the proposed flood protection wall is already on display at the notice board at Castle Pier and comments on the material and colour will also be welcomed. 

On the day members of the city council’s design team will be available from 11am to 7pm to help answer questions, explain technical details and the thinking behind the plans at this stage.

More information can be found on the regularly updated webpage at: http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/BroughtyFerryFloodProtection

07/12/2016

Official Opening of Harris Academy - This is Their New Beginning

Earlier today I attended the official opening of Harris Academy. The ceremony was led by senior pupils from the school and the unveiling of a commorative plaque was undertaken by John Swinney MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

We were piped into the school and also enjoyed several well chosen and beautifully performed musical pieces by the school orchestra and bands. I was particularly impressed by Beth Wood, a senior pupil, and her song "New Beginnings". She had recorded her song and it was used as the soundtrack for the video tour of the school. Beth's chorus line "This is our new building, this is our new beginning" struck just the right chord.

It was clear from staff and pupils who worked through the three year decant to Rockwell that they were relieved to be back on the Perth Road enjoying their new school buildings and facilities. 

My only regret is that, from the feasability study completed in March 2009 that I had instructed in my time as Education Convener, it has taken seven years to realise our ambitions for a new Harris Academy. It is clear, however, that Councillors made the right decision to rebuild the school from scratch rather than refurbish the existing buildings from the 1930's and 1960's.

06/12/2016

Scotland Falls in PISA International Rankings for Maths, Reading and Science

Earlier today the 2015 Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) study was published. This is a worldwide study based on the testing of samples of 15 year old pupils in each country. The results are organised into international league tables. 

The 2015 PISA results show: Scotland declining in reading; Scotland declining in mathematics; Scotland declining in science; falling behind more countries across the world. 

  • In reading, Scotland’s OECD rank has gone from 6th in 2000 to 23rd in 2015. 
  • In mathematics Scotland has gone from 9th in 2003 to 24th in 2015 and 
  • In science Scotland is now 19th, compared to 10th in 2006. 
These are very poor and disappointing results. 

Responsibility for Education in Scotland is fully devolved to the Scottish Government. After ten years of SNP government at Holyrood they must take some responsibility for this decline. They should wake up to the fact that their year-on-year cuts to Council budgets for schools, their failure to train sufficient numbers of Teachers and Early Years Practitioners is damaging the life chances of our children. 

The SNP government in Edinburgh should halt their damaging plans to restructure and instead use the parliament’s powers to invest, through our Councils, in our teachers. Improving the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms is the best determinant for improving pupil attainment.

05/12/2016

Shock News That Dundee City Council Operates Paupers Funerals

Scottish Councils in Sared Graves Shame: Final Insult for the Poorest
This morning my attention was drawn to an article published yesterday in the Sunday Express entitled "Scottish Councils in Shared Graves Shame - Final Insult for the Poorest". 

I was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn, that the problem of what is described as Funeral Poverty was widespread in Scotland. However, I was surprised and very disappointed that it was reported that our Council, operates a policy of burying in unmarked common graves those that need a 'Public Health Funeral'. 

If this is our practice, it is truly Dickensian. As former Vice Chairperson of the Dundee Fairness Commission, this is the kind of unfairness that our citizens, who gave evidence to the Commission, would expect us to review. In fact, in my nine and a half years as a City Councillor, I don't recall a review or debate about this. I shall be pressing for an opportunity for this to happen.

03/12/2016

Ferryfields Roads and Pavements Now Adopted

Adoption of roads and paths in Ferryfields in Broughty Ferry, Dundee
On Friday I received the following positive. news for the residents of Ferryfields:

"The roads within the Ferryfields area have, with immediate effect, become the maintenance responsibility of Dundee City Council.

The roads covered are:
Strathyre Avenue, Strathyre Walk, Strathyre Green, Strathyre Place, Midmar Place and Midmar Walk.

This means as well as the above, all roads within this development are now maintained by the Roads Authority."

I am pleased to have to have been able to support the Ferryfields Residents' Association in pushing this to a successful conclusion.

02/12/2016

Grove Swimming Pool Sunday Closure

Grove Academy Swimming Pool shut on Sundays
Leisure and Culture Dundee announced in a Facebook posting last Friday that Sunday swimming at Grove Academy has been cancelled for the foreseeable future. I was concerned when I heard about this from a constituent. It was clear that a service was being denied for members of Leisure and Culture Dundee as well as for those who turn up for an occasional swim on a Sunday. It is all very well directing swimmers to other pools in the city but that is not necessarily a feasible nor convenient option. I contacted Stewart Murdoch, Director of Leisure and Culture Dundee. He clarified that the closure had been necessitated by a lack of qualified life guards. A number had left at the same time and it would take a while to recruit replacements. In many cases the potential life guards would need to be put through the qualifying training programmes before they were available to start work. Clearly Leisure and Culture Dundee have been caught unprepared at a time when they should have been working towards an expansion of their pool of qualified life guards. Leisure and Culture Dundee are soon to assume responsibility for managing the swimming pool at the new Harris Academy but right now can't quite keep all their current pools open. I have asked for a date when Sunday opening of the Grove Academy pool resumes.

01/12/2016

Obscured Street Light in Cedar Road Reported

Obscured street light in Cedar Road in Broughty Ferry
Now the nights are drawing in, a constituent noticed that some of the street lights in Cedar Road had their light obscured by overgrown trees and shrubs. 

As a result of their reporting this to me, I had a site meeting yesterday with a manager from the Environment Department. It was agreed that the relevant private owners would be contacted by the Council to request that pruning was undertaken so that the street lights could more effectively illuminate the road and pavement.

28/11/2016

Dundee Choral Union Concert - Messiah - Caird Hall 7:30pm Sunday 18 December 2016

Dundee Choral Union
Christmas Concert
Sunday 18 December 2016 7:30pm

Caird Hall, City Square Dundee

Handel - Messiah
Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Soloists
Sarah Power - Soprano
Beth Margaret Taylor - Alto
Mark Wilde - Tenor
Andrew McTaggart - Bass

Musical Director - Derek Clark
Tickets from Dundee Choral Union members when available and also from the City Square Box Office
£15.00 and Students and Unemployed £5.00.
Accompanied School Pupils FREE
Further information contact Mrs Kay A S Simpson, tel: 01334 870277

27/11/2016

Grove Academy Christmas Fayre Saturday 3rd December 2016 from 10:30-14:00

Jingle on down to Grove Academy’s Christmas Fayre this Saturday - 3rd December from 10:30-14:00 in aid of the school charity, Macmillan Cancer Support Dundee and Grove Academy's School Fund.   

Come along and browse over 40 Christmas stalls, visit Santa’s grotto and support this festive fundraiser.

Special guest appearances from Disney’s Belle and The Beast! 

Entry fee is only £1 and can be made at the door on the day. Under 5's go free. 

Festive Fun for all the family! 

24/11/2016

BBC Black History of Britain Features Dundee

 BBC2 A Black History of Britain visits Dundee
Dundee featured in the episode of the BBC2 series ‘A Black History of Britain’, which was broadcast last night.

We learned that in 1845 the African-American Abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass began a speaking tour of Britain which lasted for 19 months.

One of the places he visited in 1846 was Dundee. He made his speech against slavery in the US in the Bell Street Baptist Church which has more recently been used by the City Council as a music centre.

As part of the documentary Dr Brunache, from the University of Dundee, was interviewed at the centre, where Douglass once stood.

The plaque commemorating Douglass's visit was unveiled outside the Music Centre.

Catch up with this programme on BBC iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer

23/11/2016

Book Week Scotland Free Event at Broughty Ferry Library 7pm Wednesday 23 November 2016

Book Week Scotland 2016 at Broughty Ferry Library
Book Week Scotland runs from 21 - 27 November 2016.

Broughty Ferry Library are hosting one of the events planned in Dundee.

The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick: Wednesday 23rd November 7.00-8.00pm, Broughty Ferry Library, Queen Street, Broughty Ferry DD5 2HN

Helen Sedgwick has an MLitt in Creative Writing and won the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2012.

Described as One Day meets The Time Traveller’s Wife, this debut novel from a former research physicist uses comets as a way of bridging time in a scientific romance that follows its characters from 1066 to present day Antarctica.

This is a free event for adults, refreshments will be available. Helen’s book will be available for sale.

To book your place
either email broughty.library@leisureandculturedundee.com

or call 01382 436919

22/11/2016

Monthly Meeting with Michael Wood Executive Director of Children and Familes Service

Yesterday morning I had my regular meeting with Michael Wood, Executive Director of Children and Families' Service, along with my colleague, Councillor Georgia Cruickshank. 

This is an opportunity to have a briefing on the Agenda Items for the Children and Families' Service Committee meeting next Monday 28 November 2016.

In our meeting in Michael's office, we discussed each item but we paid most attention to the items about the Attainment Challenge Update and the Teacher Numbers in Dundee Schools. 

The Attainment Challenge Update is essentially a progress report on Dundee school projects funded by £4 million from the Scottish Attainment Challenge. As this update is reporting on the first full year of this programme, the report maps out more about the additional staff appointed and the arrangements in place for future evaluation of 'closing the attainment gap' rather than detailing rising attainment.

Th item on Teacher Numbers in Dundee Schools reports to the Committee and the general public on the number of teachers in post in our primary and secondary schools in the designated census week in September 2016. These figures are meticulously reported to the Scottish Government. Additionally I think the figures should be reported more widely, thus my insistence at an earlier meeting of the former Education Committee that these details should be reported annually in the Autumn. This year the report records a creeping up of the pupil teacher ratio. While the report refers to some indicators of improvement in the recruitment and selection of teachers, it continues to be a shortage of teachers. While we should be vigilant in tracking the number of teachers in our schools, we should also be concerned about the learning outcomes achieved from this investment.

21/11/2016

Homelessness: Far From Fixed

Homelessness: Far from Fixed Campign City Square Dundee 21 November 2016
This morning I joined Shelter Scotland in City Square Dundee to show support for their campaign, 'Homelessness: Far From Fixed'. 

This campaign is calling on the Scottish Government to urgently develop a National Homelessness Strategy to ensure:

#There is a safe and affordable home for everyone; #There is help available for everyone to keep or find a home;
#There is a strong housing safety net to catch people if they do lose their home and
#That no-one should ever have to sleep rough on Scotland’s streets.


On a freezing day like this, the dangers of rough sleeping are especially apparent.

I think, we should be ashamed that, 50 years after the founding of Shelter, homelessness is far from fixed.

Christmas Light Night in Broughty Ferry from 6pm on Thursday 24 November 2016

Christmas Light Night in Broughty Ferry Thursday 24 November 2016
Organised by Broughty Ferry Traders' Association, the evening of events leading up to the switching on of the Christmas Lights in The Ferry has become a firm favourite in our community. It marks the start of the festive season with fairground rides and street entertainment.

The funfair and Radio Tay stage will be running from 6pm, while local traders including Scotts Butchers and Visocchis will be on hand to offer food and drink throughout the event with some shops staying open throughout the evening.

The event, held on 24 November 2016, gets under way with live entertainment from 6pm. Dundee Lord Provost Bob Duncan will then switch on the lights at 7.30pm.

Motorists should note that the central sections of Brook Street and Gray Street will be closed to traffic from 2pm until 9pm although shops in Broughty Ferry will remain open as usual.

20/11/2016

Visit to New Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery

New Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School November 2016
On Friday morning, with Councillor Kevin Keenan and Councillor Georgia Cruickshank, I had the opportunity to visit Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School in their new school buildings on Harestane Road.

This two-stream, two-storey primary school has a co-located but separately managed nursery school which incorporates the Young Mothers’ Unit. Overall, the new building was designed for an anticipated maximum of 400 pupils, with 100 FTE nursery places and nine places for babies / under two year olds, for mothers attending Baldragon Academy next door.

Mrs McCaffery, Head Teacher of Sidlaw View and Mrs Ferrier of Jessie Porter showed us round. Their two co-located schools have admirable facilities and well defined approaches to learning that are already taking advantage of their enhanced facilities.

19/11/2016

Reporting on Quarterly Meeting of The Ferry Community Planning Partnership held on Thursday 17 November

The Ferry Local Communjity Planning Partnership
On Thursday afternoon, I attended the Quarterly meeting of The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership which was held in Broughty Ferry Libary beginning at 17:30.

I always find this a useful meeting to attend because the agenda includes updates from voluntary, council and community organisations as well as presentations and consultations about new and proposed developments.

At our meeting on Thursday, the LCPP heard a formal presentation and consultation from Council staff about the proposed enhanced facilities for charging electric vehicles in the Queen Street Car Park. I have previously reported about this in this blog. Folk who want to hear this presentation may do so when it is repeated at the next meeting of the Broughty Ferry Community Council to be held on Tuesday 6 December 2016 beginning at 7pm in Broughty Ferry Library. 

The LCPP also had a presentation on initial results of the Engage Broughty Ferry survey and the implications of the 'A Fair Way to Go: Report of the Dundee Fairness Commission'. A follow up event to tease out the way forward for partners will be held in early 2017.

Two new PCs from the local policing team for Broughty Ferry introduced themselves and committed to resuming their regular attendance at further meetings of the LCPP and other community organisations.

17/11/2016

Commenting on Community Meetings I Have Attended This Week

On Tuesday evening, after my weekly surgery at the Library, I attended a meeting of the Broughty Ferry Development Trust. It was good to hear about the projects which they are working on. I am sure their efforts will help to enhance The Ferry.

On Wednesday evening, I divided my time between the Parent Council meetings at Barnhill and Forthill Primary Schools as their meetings had been arranged for the same night. To my mind, both groups are positive examples of involved parents and carers leading to inspired children. At both meetings I heard about issues that are important in connection with their children's primary schooling. Unfortunately, there remain road safety issues in relation to the dropping off and picking up of children around Barnhill and Forthill. I will raise these issues at the next meeting of the School Parking and Pupil Safety Working Group.

15/11/2016

Potholes at Entrance to Car Park on the Esplanade Reported

Potholes at entrance to the Car Park on the Esplanade in Broughty FerryConstituents have complained to me about the very uneven surface at the entrance to the car park located midway along The Esplanade. As can be seen in the picture, a number of potholes have developed and are getting worse. 

This is a well used free car park which offers visitors and residents alike a good place to park with easy access to the beach and the grassy margin between the dunes and The Esplanade.

I have asked the Environment Department to arrange for the potholes to be filled in and a more even surface restored.

14/11/2016

Support Our Local Charity Timebank Pop-Up Shop

Merry Ferry Time Chris"tmas Pop Up Shop November - December 2016Starting next Monday, 21st November, our own Timebank in The Ferry will be running a Christmas Emporium at 69 Gray Street Broughty Ferry. 

As a local charity, Ferry Time, need to raise funds so that they can continue to operate the time bank and thereby enable skills exchange between folk. 

This pop up shop will be selling hand made crafts, donated new items as well as vintage and previously enjoyed goods. Teas, coffees, biscuits and home baking will also be on sale. Tombola.

One Day Traffic Restrictions Junction of Reres Road and Abertay Street Thursday 17 November 2016

Road Closed Street Sign
PUBLIC NOTICE

THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water manhole repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Reres Road / Abertay Street junction (prohibition of left turn into Abertay Street and right turn into Reres Road), Broughty Ferry.

This notice comes into effect on Thursday 17 November 2016 for 1 day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Panmure Terrace / Abercromby Street / Hamilton Street and Abertay Street / Monifieth Road / Reres Road.

For further information contact (01382) 433082.
Mike P Galloway Executive Director of City Development Dundee City Council

13/11/2016

Commenting on Homework Policy for Dundee Primary Schools

The recent news that a Primary School in the Highlands has opted to stop setting homework is one which I think we should take notice of in our Primary Schools in Dundee. I am not suggesting that we abandon homework as a Council policy but that each of our schools review its value and place especially in the early primary years. 

Many parents and carers may be surpised to know that the research evidence that regular homework is effective and beneficial is at best mixed. If there are no clear benefits, then the potential damage it can do in adding to pressure on our young people already makes homework not worth doing at that point. Sometimes less is more. 

It is also argued that the role of ‘homework policing’ by parents creates tensions in the family. I can certainly remember 'issues' when having the responsibility to sign off the homework tasks when these had been completed.

"Whether you're pro- or anti-homework, keep in mind that research gives a big-picture idea of what works and what doesn't, and a capable teacher can make almost anything work. The question isn't about homework vs. no homework; instead, we should be asking ourselves, 'How can we transform homework so that it's engaging, relevant, and supports learning?' "

I am sure that many pupils, parents and carers would say 'yes' to that.

12/11/2016

Request for Additional Rubbish Bin to Close the Gap

Rubbish bins on coastal pathway in Broughty Ferry
Readers of my blog know that I often enjoy a walk along the coastal pathway between Douglas Terrace and the Stannergate.

Earlier this week, some other regular dog walkers asked me to try to get another rubbish bin installed. I think they have some sound reasoning to support their proposal. 

Between the rubbish bin at the Stannergate end of the path (top picture) and the two bins beside the sailing clubs (bottom two pictures), you pass three dog poo bins but no general rubbish bins which is a gap of at least half a mile. While they don't think the lack of a bin excuses littering, they do think some folk might be more inclined to bin their rubbish if one were nearer to hand. 

More specifically, they recommend that an additional bin is installed close to the Sea Eagles sculptures and the group of wooden benches beside the interpretation board close to the flight of contrete steps that run down to the river. 

I have passed on this request to the very helpful staff at the Environment Department.

Please contact me if there is a 'missing bin' in the vicinity of your home or on your favourite walk.

11/11/2016

Harbouring Tourist Information on a Touch Screen Display

Harbour Cafe Tayport with Touch Screen Tourist Information
I was over in Fife for a dog walk in Tentmuir Forest on Wednesday morning. On the way home, I dropped in for a coffee at the Harbour Community Cafe in Tayport.

Apart for the coffee and cakes and the wonderful view over to The Ferry, I noticed that they also host one of the Fife Local Information Points.

As you can see it like a giant iPad on a stand and provides online touchscreen access to information for residents and tourists.

I think this is the standard of dispersed Tourist Information we need across the water in Dundee and Broughty Ferry. For many folk, leaflets just won't cut it in a digital age.

10/11/2016

Grove Academy Cycling Team Awarded Dundee Cyclathon Fundraising Cup 2016

Grove Academy Cyclathon Team win Fundraising Cup
Congratulations to the pupils from Grove Academy who last night were awarded the Fundraising Cup for the most money raised by a team who entered the Dundee Cyclathon. 

Back in September, this young team of cyclists completed a circuit of the 26 mile Green Circular route starting and finishing in Camperdown Park. Last night they were presented with the Fundrasing Cup by Lord Provost Bob Duncan at a Civic Reception for the cyclists/fundraisers and the organisers of the Cyclathon, Rotary Club of Claverhouse.

This is not the first occasion that a team of cyclists from Grove Academy, with staff support, have won this fundraising award. 

09/11/2016

Tayberry Restaurant Makes Michelin Guide 2017

Tayberry Restaurant Review in Michelin Guide 2017Congratulations to Tayberry Restaurant on their recommendation in the 2017 edition of the Michelin Guide. 

The Tayberry Restaurant is owned and run by head chef Adam Newth. Adam has previously won many awards including Young Seafood Chef of the Year as well as Young Scottish Chef of the Year in 2013. 

More recently the Tayberry restaurant has also been awarded two AA Rosettes.

08/11/2016

BBC Reveal Broughty Ferry Police Station Under Threat

Broughty Ferry Police Station
Yesterday there were revelations from the BBC that 'The future of dozens of police stations across Scotland is under threat.' This list included our Police Station in Broughty Ferry.

The BBC report is extremely worrying. I had been informed that the lease on the current Police Station buildings in Brook Street was coming to an end but that Police Scotland were proposing to move over the road to the former Police Station premises next to the Burgh Halls.  If that move is reneged on and Police Scotland are proposing to pull out of Broughty Ferry, I know there will be will be sustained resistance to that.

I am sure that the Broughty Ferry residents would once again demonstrate their opposition to a proposal that they judge to be detrimental, in the same way we saw off the proposal of Tayside Fire and Rescue to downgrade Balmossie Fire Station. 

I am certainly determined to resist any reduction in Police Scotland presence in and service to The Ferry.

07/11/2016

Proposed Recharging Hub at Queen Street Car Park

Proposed Recharging Hub for Broughty Ferry Autumn 2016Last month Ferry Councillors had a site visit to the Queen Street car park opposite the Library. We were there to examine proposals for an enhanced number and variety of electric vehicle recharging points. This is to be funded from a share of a £1.86 million grant from the UK government's Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). As well as more rapid recharging points for cars, there would also be provision for the recharging of electric bikes and electric mobility scooters. 

I think many older folk in The Ferry who have extended their bike riding by shifting to an e-bike or those that rely on a mobility scooter will be pleased that their needs have been recognised in the plans for this proposed facility.

Proposed Recharging Hub for Broughty Ferry Autumn 2016The two pictures show an artist's impression of what the new Recharging Hub might look like; it would be sited where the recycling bins are currently lined up. To accommodate the Recharging Hub, the recycling containers would be moved to the western side of the car park closer to the railway.

This project is subject to consultation with the Broughty Ferry Community Council and The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership.

05/11/2016

Free Fireworks Displays in Dundee Tonight - Saturday 5 November 2016 - Lochee Park and Baxter Park


Free Fireworks Displays in Dundee - Saturday 5 November 2016
Lochee Park and Baxter Park Dundee

6.00pm - Tay FM Roadshow
6.15pm - Lighting of The Bonfire
7.00pm - Fireworks Display
7.25pm - End

In the interests of public safety, please DO NOT bring fireworks, sparklers or Chinese lanterns to the displays.

Please note: there is no parking on site at Baxter Park and Lochee Park. Please use public transport or walk.

04/11/2016

School Capacity Issues in Dundee Raised in Children & Families Service Estate Review 2016

Agenda for Novenber 2016 Meeting of the Dundee City Council Children and Families
On Monday night, I spoke at the Children & Families' Service Meeting item 3 'Review of the Service Estatae.'

"Convener, there a number of very positive features in the Children and Families’ Service Estate Review which we are considering tonight.    In particular, I would like to commend the Executive Director for including the section in the Report on the safety of our school buildings and the regular inspection of these by the City Engineers’ Department.   You will recall that this was something that I brought to this Committee’s attention at a previous meeting when I brought forward in a Motion on this specific issue.

It is also positive that many of the schools that are in 'C' condition “showing major defects and/or not operating adequately” are either part of a planned programme for up-grading or new facilities soon to be available.


There are, however, a number of issues which I want to raise tonight and in the spirit of being committed to continuous improvement, I hope the Committee would want to support the matters I raise which are part of my Motion.


Firstly, in relation to school capacity, I think the figures especially for secondary schools in paragraph 5.5 are rather misleading.


As you are aware, Convener, saying that there are spare places in a school because the total number of pupils is less than the total capacity of the school doesn’t take us very far.


I think it would be fair to say that every one of our secondary schools including Harris Academy which in this Report is detailed as running over capacity, all of these schools may have places in S5 and S6.   This is because it is beyond the minimum school leaving age and not everyone of our secondary pupils stays on for S5 and S6. The fact that a place is available in a school in S5 and S6 is no help to the parent or carer that wants to secure a place for their child into S1.


My Motion has requested that this Committee receives a follow up Report which elaborates the year by year S1 to S6 spare capacity in each of our Secondary Schools.   I think that will give us a clearer picture of how much spare capacity we really have to cope with the predicted rise in the City’s population over the next 10 to 20 years.


Secondly, while this Report provides information about the quality of the Council’s nursery school buildings, it does not provide any statistics or any figures about pre-school pupil numbers and the capacity for the Council’s nursery pre school sector.


I think this Committee needs this information bearing in mind the reference in the Report to the commitment of the Scottish Government to almost double the entitlement hours for 3 and 4 year olds in Scotland to pre school education and care.   Clearly it is important to know what capacity we already have for such a major expansion in Education provision in our City.


I think therefore it’s perfectly reasonable to request that future Reports from Children and Families’ Service on the Estate include the additional statistical data on pre-school provision that my Motion calls for.


Convener, I therefore move my Amendment and hope you and colleagues on the Committee would support these two measures which I have proposed."



03/11/2016

Commenting on Tree Felling at Criagowan, Corner of Camphill Road and Whinny Brae Broughty Ferry

Craigowan, Camphill Road, Broughty Ferry.
On Monday morning I was contacted by a constituent who lives in Rowanbank Gardens. He was very concerned about whether the felling of trees in the garden ground of Craigowan adjacent to his home and wanted to know whether this was incordance with the planning permission for the site. 

Following this phone call, I contacted the Council's Duty Planning Officer and urged an immediate site visit. The Council Officer who deals with Tree Preservation Orders and trees in Conservation Areas visited the site on Monday afternoon and spoke directly with the contractors. 

On the basis of his brefings to me, there are three trees to be retained at Craigowan: 1 lime, 1 beech and 1 holly tree. As part of the planning conditions, twelve trees will be planted on the bank close to the boundary with the properties in Rowanbank Gardens. It was therefore clarified that the trees that were being cut down on Monday were neither protected by tree preservation orders nor planning conditions. For the avoidance of doubt, I have asked Council Officer to provide the consitituent concerned and me with a plan that clearly indicates the location of the three trees that are to be retained.

While this was not the outcome that my constituent wanted, at least his intervention has helped to clarify the number of trees protected by planning decisions on this development. 

I hope that the envirnomnental works in the gardens will be swiftly followed up with work on this iconic property. I know many residents in the area have been concerned that it has lain empty and neglected for many years.

02/11/2016

One Day Closure of Brook Street at Junction with Church Street Sun 6 November 2016 for Scottish Water Repairs

Road Closure Streeet Sign
PUBLIC NOTICE

THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water manhole repair works being

carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Brook Street (at its junction with Church Street), Broughty Ferry.

This notice comes into effect on Sunday 6 November 2016 for 1 day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained. Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Westfield Road / King Street / Brown Street.

For further information contact (01382) 433082.
Mike P Galloway Executive Director of City Development Dundee City Council

01/11/2016

Car Crash in Dundee Road Demolishes Street Light and Damages Parked Vehicle

Car Crash Dundee Road Broughty Ferry
Early yesterday evening, while I was attending a series of Council meetings, the tranquility of the neighbourhood was disturbed by a road traffic accident in Dundee Road.

My wife Rowena reported to me that the vehicle involved demolished a street light and extensively damaged a red Golf saloon car parked beside the road. The car that crashed appeared to have been written off. 

Emergency services attended and there was a short power cut. Power was restored after the damaged street light was disconected and removed. Luckily no one was injured in the accident. Thanks to Rowena for the photographs.

31/10/2016

Screening of I Daniel Blake at DCA Cinema This Week - Free Entry for Unwaged Wednesday 2 November 2016

I Daniel Blake. Winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival is screening all this week and most of next at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA). 

Veteran director Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake proves that he has lost none of his touch. This is an important, relevant, moving film about the way ordinary people are being treated by the bureaucracy of our modern welfare state. The film script was partly based on interviews with claimants in Dundee who had been on the end of sanctions.

On Wed 2 November 2016 all screenings of I, Daniel Blake will be free for unwaged customers at DCA - please bring a form of jobseeker or Employment & Support Allowance documentation to claim your free ticket. Their regular discount for unwaged visitors applies to the rest of the film's run until Thursday 10 November.
http://www.dca.org.uk/whats-on/event/i-daniel-blake

30/10/2016

Implications of Recommendations of Independent Inquiry into the Death of Cults Academy Pupil Bailey Gwynne

Senior Cults Academy pupil Bailey Gwynne who was tabbed to death at school. RiP
The Report of the Independent Inquiry into the death of the senior pupil of Cults Academy in Aberdeen City, Bailey Gwynne, was launched on 11 October. The report made 21 recommendations.

Unfortunately, after the publication of the report, one recommendation dominated the news, "The Scottish Government should improve the resilience of schools to the threat posed by weapons and give consideration to amending the law in relation to searching pupils." I was contacted by the press about whether I was in favour of this or not.

Having read about this tragic case, I am convinced that the real challenge for our schools and pupils is how we develop pupil - teacher relationships that enable pupils to reveal to teachers that a pupil at school is carrying an offensive weapon. In the case of the pupil who stabbed and killed Bailey Gwynne, the Inquiry learned that he was known by several pupils to have had a knife on his person at school on numerous occasions, including the day of his altercation with Bailey Gwynne. This, I recognise, means overcoming pupil fears about being labelled as 'clypes'.

This is a copy of my response to the press:

"Labour's Education Spokesperson in Dundee said:
I am sure that our Executive Director of Family and Children's Service, Michael Wood, will be coming forward with a report to Committee. I should expect that this will provide a comprehensive response to the recommendations from Andrew Lowe's report which map how best we can respond in Dundee to try to prevent such a fatality in our schools. The inquiry report's recommendation about enhancing the right of senior teachers to search a pupil is clearly marked for the attention of the Scottish Government and is for the future.

I note that the inquiry reported that the death of schoolboy Bailey Gwynne might have been avoided if those who knew his killer carried weapons had reported it to school staff. This suggests to me that we shall need to consider how effectively our schools are promoting an ethos of openness to communication between pupils and teachers to support such disclosures."

More recently, the Director of Children and Families' Service, Michael Wood, has confirmed that after liaison with staff and trade unions, he will indeed be reporting to the Children and Families' Service Committee with recommendations about how we should respond to this tragedy in our schools here in Dundee.