01/02/2020

Proposed Education Changes - Where's the strategy?

Last week Dundee City Council's Children and Families Services Committee considered a three reports which would change educational provision across the city.  You can read the reports here.

The Labour Group were clear that reports which change the catchment area for Harris Academy and its feeder primary schools; which propose the amalgamation of Braeview Academy and Craigie High School and changes to the catchment area at Grove Academy as well as looking at the provision of education for residents of the Western Gateway needed to be grounded in an overall strategic vision about what the council was trying to achieve.

There was no strategic vision in these reports.  The closest we got to a strategy was a wish to ensure that schools were as close to their capacity as possible.

I am clear that giving every young person in Dundee the best possible start in life should be the top priority for the Children and Families' Services Committee.  I saw little evidence that this was the driving force for the proposed changes.  Given the publication of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation figures this week giving every young person the best start in life is all the more important.

We were disappointed that our amendments seeking more information on the educational strategy behind any changes were defeated on the reports about Harris Academy and the amalgamation of Braeview Academy and Craigie High School.  Our amendment on educational provision in the Western Gateway was accepted.

I am calling on the SNP Administration and the council's Children and Families Services Department to engage in a meaningful consultation on these changes and that despite the committee vote that they explain how these changes will improve the educational opportunities for young people across Dundee.

31/01/2020

Disgraceful lack of action on car parking in the West End

I have been campaigning for a solution to the car parking issues in the West End.  As a local resident and as one of the local councillors I know that this is a major issue for a lot of people.

In March 2018 Dundee City Council unanimously agreed to consult on setting up a residents parking scheme in West End and other areas around the city centre.  It is a disgrace that nothing has been done to implement this policy.  Instead the SNP-led council has pushed through charges for the off-street car parks in the West End.  This is a remarkable show of bad faith on the council's part.

I have written to the Executive Director for City Development asking him when action will be taken to implement the democratic decision of the council.

The action that the council have taken will make the situation for residents worse.  It is perverse that nothing has been done to implement a policy agreed in March 2018 but a policy only agreed in September 2019 has now been fully implemented.

There is a need for a joined up approach to the issues around car parking in the West End.  We need to do more to cut back on demand.  We need to improve public transport and look at delivering park and ride options around the city.

Dundee City Council is a democratic organisation which carries out democratically agreed policies.  I cannot understand why there has been no progress on a consultation on a residents car parking scheme.