Headteachers Fear Pupils Are Being Held Back by Lack of Resources

Teacher in the classroomAccording to evidence in the international PISA survey:

"Scotland’s headteachers fear pupils are being held back by a lack of resources. Almost half (45%) believe they do not have enough teachers, and a third say there are not enough support staff and materials."
The Scotsman 6 February 2017

The shortage of teachers in Dundee schools won't be eased just by providing more cash to our Headteachers. Too many of our schools in Dundee report difficulties attracting suitably qualified teachers to fill their current vacancies. This is chiefly because there are not enough training places for teachers in our Universities. 

The responsibility for this Teacher shortage, lies with the Scottish Government. Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney MSP, and his predecessor SNP colleagues have failed in their workforce planning. It's not good when the political leadership of Education in Scotland are clearly so poor at maths.


Replacement Post Office for Central Broughty Ferry One Step Nearer

Run A Post Office
I am pleased to see that the Post Office have lost little time in advertising Broughty Ferry Post Office. I am sure that many constituents will be relieved to know that steps are being taken for a Post Office to reopen in central Broughty Ferry.

It was a shock for customers and the staff  when the Gray Street Post Office shut without warning recently. I understand that the Post Office is looking for a like for like replacement and not downgrading the range of services that might be on offer. 

This time, when the franchise is granted, I hope care will be taken in choosing a more central location on one of the main streets south of the railway line. This would, I think, be mutually advantageous for the health of the Post Office business as well as for customers shopping in central Broughty Ferry."

Link to Franchise Advertisement


Dispute Over Abrupt Changes to School Crossing Patrol on Forthill Road

Forthill Crossing Patrol Campaign 
Last week a Crossing Patroller was abruptly removed from her stance crossing school children over Forthill Road close to its junction with Balgillo Road. The well regarded Lollipop Lady had an outstanding record of crossing children at this road junction, over Forthill Road as well as Balgillo Road. At her post for close to twenty years, a single complaint led to her being moved to a crossing point at another school and the crossing of Forthill Road hastily removed as a crossing point. 

The staff of Tayside Contracts, who supply and manage this service for the Council should have red faces. They claim that the crossing over Forthill Road was not an official crossing point but apparently did not notice the dual crossing in practice when they undertook a comprehensive risk assessment and review of every school crossing control point in the city before they took over the contract in 2016?

Angela Lyall, one of the parents whose children's routes to school is affected has been gathering signatures to have the well loved Crossing Patroller reinstated to her crossing control point and the crossing over Forthill Road reinstated. She and seven other parents have gathered more than 300 hundred signatures. It seems the Crossing Patroller is paying for the lapses in supervision by others. The dedication of our crossing patrollers is impressive in return for earning a little over the minimum wage and turning out whatever the weather week in week out.

I strongly requested a meeting about this which will be taking place at Forthill Primary School this morning. If Tayside Contracts want to remove a crossing patrol point, there is an agreed consultative procedure and they are not following it. The continuing safety of our children is paramount. 

If there isn't reasonable progress at the meeting tomorrow, I will refer this to the next meeting of Children and Families' Service Committee.


Pupil Equity Funding for Dundee Schools

Pupils in Scottish Primary School
The Scottish government has announced details of how much money each school in Scotland will receive to close the attainment gap in 2017-18.

It was Scottish Labour which first put closing the attainment gap with extra funding onto the agenda in the Scottish Parliament – but we would have paid for it by asking the richest 1 per cent to pay a little more with a 50p top rate of tax. Instead, the SNP is taking it by perversely cutting the pre-existing schools budget.

The SNP sums simply don’t add up on schools funding. Ministers cannot cut the gap between the richest and the rest while they slash £327 million from Council budgets across Scotland.

Head teachers will see this new funding alongside shrinking budgets, so it’s simply SNP spin after £1.4 billion of cuts since 2011.

Labour has a better plan to close the attainment gap – our MSPs will table amendments to the Scottish budget to use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to stop these cuts and invest in education instead.

Allocation of Pupil Equity Funds for Dundee Schools 2017-18

Primary Schools
Ancrum Road Primary School £116,400
Ardler Primary School £79,200
Ballumbie Primary School £193,200
Barnhill Primary School £31,200
Blackness Primary School £57,600
Camperdown Primary School £147,600
Claypotts Castle Primary School £200,400
Clepington Primary School £165,600
Craigiebarns Primary School £76,800
Craigowl Primary School £159,600
Dens Road Primary School £130,800
Downfield Primary School £150,000
Eastern Primary School £60,000
Fintry Primary School £152,400
Forthill Primary School £44,400
Glebelands Primary School £82,800
Gowriehill Primary School £49,200
Hillside Primary School £76,800
Longhaugh Primary £154,800
Mill Of Mains Primary School £81,600
Our Lady's RC Primary School £54,000
Rosebank Primary School £57,600
Rowantree Primary School £205,200
Sidlaw View Primary School £120,000
St Andrew's RC Primary School £108,000
St Clement's RC Primary School £88,800
St Fergus' R C Primary School £57,600
St Joseph's RC Primary School £60,000
St Luke's and St Matthew's RC Primary School £135,600
St Mary's RC Primary School £118,800
St Ninian's RC Primary School £62,400
St Peter and Paul RC School Primary £142,800
St Pius' RC Primary School £102,000
St Vincent's RC Primary School £126,000
Victoria Park Primary School £76,800

Secondary Schools
Baldragon Academy £122,400
Braeview Academy £117,600
Craigie High School £126,000
Grove Academy £70,800
Harris Academy £182,400
Morgan Academy £182,400
St John's RC High School £175,200
St Paul’s RC Academy £201,600


Resurfacing of Shopping Centre Car Parks in The Ferry

Resurfacing work at Sainsbury's, Dundee January 2017Yesterday I went up to Sainsbury's supermarket for some shopping and couldn't help but notice that the car park was being resurfaced section by section. The lines for the parking bays were also being neatly repainted.

It reminded me that when new owners took over the Campfield Square shopping centre, they promised to undertake work to upgrade the car park which is rutted and the parking lines are badly worn. 

A constituent complained to me last week about the traffic direction arrows painted on the car park surface which are now so badly obscured. She has noticed that in the absence of clear signage, cars are being driven around the car park in a clockwise and anti clock wise direction and this is an increased hazard for pedestrians.

I have written to the management company in Glasgow to urge them to get on with upgrading their Campfield Square Shopping Centre Car Park.