Scottish Conservative Councillors led a fight back yesterday against the SNP Government's attempt to take control of education away from locally elected members. At the Education and Childrens’ Services Committee meeting on Tuesday, Councillors were asked to consider their response to the Scottish Government’s Education Governance Review-Next Steps. This highly controversial document aims to short circuit Local Authorities, removing their responsibility for education attainment and breaking the link between parents and locally elected Councillors. Under these proposals, if a parent is unhappy with the quality of education at their local school, they will have to go to Holyrood to seek satisfaction.
Scottish Conservative Councillor, Tony Miklinski (Cupar) proposed an amendment to “recognise the deep concern at the threat to local democratic accountability for educational attainment implicit within the Scottish Government Next Steps review”. Despite the SNP/Labour pact to run Fife Council together, elected members were so incensed that the amendment achieved cross party supprt from Conservative,Lib Dem and Labour councillors to defeat the SNP by 10 votes to 6. This first break of unity shows how important the issue is and how unhappy Councillors felt at the proposal placed before them.
Cllr Miklinski commented “This is a significant result. Education is a critical issue for Parents across Fife and Scotland and the SNP Government is in trouble over falling educational standards. Their response is to try to bulldoze through reforms that are not fully thought through or, indeed, likely to result in improvements in educational attainment. The cross party support this amendment achieved is a shot across John Swinney’s bows. Think again. We don’t need Fife’s education system to be thrown up in the air just to satisfy the SNP’s need to be seen to be doing something”
The Scottish Government is working up legislation to turn the review into reality.