Teries urged to air concerns about rural education

Hawick MSP Paul Wheelhouse
Hawick MSP Paul Wheelhouse

HAWICK MSP Paul Wheelhouse is urging Teries with an interest in rural education to submit their views to the Scottish Government.

Cabinet Secretary for Education, Michael Russell, has launched a consultation in response to the Report of the Commission of the Delivery of Rural Education, which is open for anyone with an interest to comment on.

The Commission put forward proposals to improve the delivery of education, a number of which require changes to the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.

Views are being sought, by September 2, on a range of issues, including the presumption against closure; providing financial information on closure proposals; and a five-year moratorium between closure proposals for the same school.

Mr Wheelhouse told the Hawick News: “School closures anywhere are an emotive issue but rural education has become even more of a focus with the budget cuts many local authorities face and, as a former parent council chair, I know that it is an issue that is of great concern to parents and staff in our smaller rural schools in particular.

“I know Scottish Borders Council takes very seriously the implications of such budget changes, and it is important that matters surrounding school closures are dealt with in an open and transparent way, which is why this consultation is so important for our communities across the region.

“I am confident that any measures put in place will protect and enhance the importance we all recognise rural schools have in our communities, while allowing local authorities the flexibility they need to ensure their education priorities can be met.”

The SNP member added: “I would encourage people in and around Hawick with an interest in the future of our rural schools to consider submitting their views to this consultation to ensure that the views of the Scottish Borders community are well represented. By doing this we can maximise the chances for the Scottish Borders’ perspective to be reflected in new legislation which aims to deliver for education, but also for local economies and communities such as our own.”