Richard Lochhead: Pun slinger

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 17 April 2015

Richard Lochhead is clearly a man who enjoys a pun. In the past his office has boasted of “fishing for litter” in removing 800 tonnes of litter from the sea, “chipping in” with a move to microchip dogs, and announcing the “hot potato” issue that seed potato exports are doing well.

It makes you wonder how much time the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment spends cooking up these titles.

But the good news is that today is no exception, with the proud tradition continuing with “In the Bag”, marking the success of the 5p carrier bag charge.

Glasgow colleges in turmoil

Written by Tom Freeman on 8 April 2015

The pressure is mounting on former First Minister of Scotland Henry McLeish after a third high-profile name sensationally quit the Glasgow Colleges Regional Board, which he chairs.

Barclay McCrindle, president and chief executive of the Glasgow Clyde College Student Association (GCCSA) has joined both Pamela Gillies, the principal of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), and Maureen McKenna, the education director at Glasgow City Council, who are thought to have stepped down over concerns over the way the board is run and the leadership of McLeish.

More questions than answers

Written by Tom Freeman on 27 March 2015

Yesterday's debate on health inequalities, led by Health and Sport Committee convener Duncan McNeil was fascinating and frustrating in equal measure.

Inspector calls - are NHS staff too busy for improvement work?

Written by Tom Freeman on 13 March 2015

“We’re committed to driving up standards in the care of older people in hospitals, which is exactly why this Government introduced these inspections,” said Health Secretary Shona Robison in response to yesterday’s report from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland which suggested fundamental standards of care for older people in Scotland are being compromised by pressures on the health service.

Challenging the University mantra

Written by on 11 March 2015

People are still putting university education on a pedestal, apparently.

Yesterday the Education and Culture committee discussed what the recommendations from Sir Ian Wood’s Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce could mean for schools. Those giving evidence seemed to agree culture change was needed to recognise broader achievements.

A consensus on melting rocks

Written by Tom Freeman on 4 March 2015

It's an election year, but you'd never guess it was an election with no bearing on Scottish education policy.

COSLA goes to war

Written by Tom Freeman on 18 February 2015

COSLA took to the front pages on Monday in a spirited fightback against what they saw as the Government breaking its own rules of local government negotiations. They even threatened a legal war. Their weapon? A new piece of analysis by the Improvement Service which appears to prove there is no direct correlation between the fluctuation in teacher numbers over the last decade, and attainment, which has steadily risen.

Stubborn inequalities

Written by Tom Freeman on 2 February 2015

NHS Health Scotland was set up to reduce health inequalities and improve health, but given the Health and Sport Committee’s recent report on the issue, which showed interventions and initiatives have failed to make a difference, you could be forgiven for thinking they face an impossible task.

Community first

Written by Kate Shannon on 1 February 2015

Last week the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill took a couple of small steps forward.

Reports were published by two Scottish Parliament committees, Local Government and Regeneration (LGR) and the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE). I wrote about the LGR’s findings on our website, so I thought I’d take a look at the other report.

Midnight in Europe

Written by Tom Freeman on 9 December 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron’s language on Europe has got tougher in the last fortnight, and under increased pressure to appear hostile to the European Union he conducted a press conference warning if the UK’s demands fall on “deaf ears” he will “rule nothing out”.