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29 October 2014

Stevenson Fights for Moray Schools

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, criticised Conservative proposals to address the attainment gap in Scottish schools today (Wednesday), highlighting the number of schools in Moray that are currently under review.

In a Conservative-led Scottish Parliament debate on Education, Mr Stevenson attacked the Conservative motion being discussed, which promoted “maximum parental choice” and “greater diversity in schools.”

He said:

“In Moray in my constituency, the future of schools in Findochty, Portknockie, Portessie, and Cullen, Rothiemay, Crossroads and Cluny school, and nearby at Portgordon and Newmill are all under review. Milne’s High School in Fochabers is under threat of closure.

“The Tory motion believes in maximum choice – are schools in Moray with good educational attainment being supported by what’s being proposed? No. They are threatened by proposals to close, to merge, to reduce their schools – reducing diversity and reducing choice."

He added:

“No educational case has been made for the changes proposed in Moray – they are not failing schools but those with a good educational record. Nor does the economic case stand any scrutiny.

“As many of these schools are below the 70 pupil level where additional funding trips in, if the schools proposed for closure were to close, Moray would sacrifice a seven figure sum in funding.

“These moves are not justified in diversity, not justified in choice and hardly likely to be justified on economic grounds. Fundamentally there is no indication from the community that they want this change to be made and there was a local march last weekend against some of these proposals.

“Disadvantage comes from economic circumstances – not genetic. Having a situation where children are denied the range of opportunities that they would get in a wealthier environment is not the way forward, and I would ask the Tories to reflect on that.”

The report by Caledonian Economics recommending the proposals for Moray schools will be discussed by local councillors on Monday. SNP councillors plans to oppose the plans for school closures in Moray.
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