Education bill amended in Dunfermline
The Education and Culture Committee had two meetings this week, the first of which took place in Dunfermline city chambers. It can be assumed this was arranged before the kingdom of Fife was cut off from Edinburgh due to a bridge closure, but I'm sure the MSPs enjoyed their train journey.
This allowed the Committee to get through a lot of amendments to the Education bill, which is a complex and multi-faceted piece of legislation, possibly even a bit nebulous.
Classes of local primary pupils in attendance may have been somewhat bemused by the proceedings.
Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon said it was “a historic occasion”, not because of the Fife location but because Education Secretary Angela Constance had accepted one of her amendments, that new statutory guidance should be subject to ‘appropriate consultation’.
Liam McArthur was less fortunate as his attempt to derail the introduction of National Standardised Assessments was unsurprisingly rejected.
“To rule out an approach that will provide us with consistent and meaningful data at all levels seems to be short sighted,” said Constance.
Provisions for free school meals and grants for school uniforms were strengthened, but time was against committee in Scotland’s ancient capital.
“I thank everyone who has organised and supported the meeting here in Dunfermline. It has gone exceptionally well. We have had a great welcome and the hospitality has been very nice too. We do not usually get a sandwich in committee, so I thank whoever organised that,” said convener Stewart Maxwell.
“The coffee is nicer than the Parliament’s,” said Scanlon. A case for holding more of these in Fife perhaps, bride or no bridge.