We must recognise that education is principally valuable in its own right... We should be concentrating on replenishing staffing and support within education, not altering governance arrangements.Cllr Tanya Wisely
Glasgow Greens have today ensured proper local scrutiny for SNP plans to introduce region- level governance for education, citing concerns over accountability.
At present, 8 local authorities are involved in joint working as part of the West partnership. The SNP plans sought to move responsibility for Education Improvement to the Regional Economic Strategy and Action Plan and follows John Swinney’s controversial Next Steps report, which has been widely criticised by the teaching profession. In a tight vote, the Green amendment to remit the proposals to the Education Committee was passed 12:11.
Speaking directly after the vote, Green education spokesperson Tanya Wisely said: “Greens support the principle of councils collaborating voluntarily on educational improvement but we're concerned about a rush to introduce region-level governance before Glasgow's own Education Committee has even been set up. Surely Glasgow's councillors should first agree how we want to govern education locally before signing anything away to new regional power structures with no obvious plans for local oversight. These plans were overwhelmingly rejected in the recent public consultations and we are very concerned about any moves which could impair local accountability.”
The Green amendment commended the work of officers and local authorities in the West Partnership to collaborate on Educational Improvement regionally, for example, on efforts made to improve access to childcare. However it also cited concerns that the proposed relocation under the City Deal implied that the purpose of education is purely and simply to support economic development.
Green councillor for Langside Tanya Wisely added: “We must recognise that education is principally valuable in its own right. Education Improvement has not just been invented. It is one of the many functions of local government to have suffered sharply as cuts have redirected resources to protect frontline services. We should be concentrating on replenishing staffing and support within education, not altering governance arrangements.”