City Council and Committees

Last Monday evening saw meetings of the City Council and a number of its committees. The Education Committee received a disgracefully poorly prepared report on a Review of the School Estate. The first three members who asked questions about specific schools received answers which told them that the report was mistaken or poorly written. We were told we should accept that this was three isolated cases of errors in the report and that the rest of the report was accurate. If this is correct it is a remarkable coincidence.

I was very concerned to read that the new West End nursery school was not to be a stand alone nursery. I was told that this was 'poorly written' but I have to say that what was written could hardly have been clearer. But what was written was 'There are currently 9 Nursery Schools in Dundee. This number will reduce to 7 when Park Place Nursery moves into the new West End campus and Whitfield Community Early Years' Centre moves into the new Ballumbie building.' I sought a reassurance that this was not a precursor of the budget process when we may be faced with cuts to nursery school headteachers. I was told that this was not the case. I was disappointed that this report was pushed through, it was so poorly prepared that it should have been deferred and a revised report should have been brought back.

The Administration must take responsibility for presenting such a bad report to the committee.

In the City Development Committee I supported moves to reduce the speed limit on Riverside Drive to 40 mph. I am clear that Dundee does not use its situation on the Tay to its best advantage. We need to reconnect the city with the river, this is what is being done with the whole Waterfront Development. I asked questions about the enforcement of this speed limit as the report said that the police said that this might be a problem.

At the Policy and Resources Committee I welcomed moves by the council to involve young people in decision making. The council needs to listen to the voice of all the people of Dundee including young people. I was really pleased that this was a move away from the secretive Changing for the Future Board way of developing policy.

My colleague Laurie Bidwell raised concerns about cuts to Dundee College. I used to work at Dundee College and I am aware of the excellent work that goes on there and how it makes a difference to the lives of young people in Dundee. I am pleased that next Monday the council will consider a report on our response to the Scottish Government's plans for the further and higher education sector.