Councillor Jeff Leaver, the Labour Group spokesperson for education on Dumfries and Galloway Council, has accused the Conservative/SNP Council Coalition of attempting to sneak through their preferred option of a “super school” at the Crichton Campus in Dumfries
ouncillor Leaver made the accusation after tabling a series of urgent questions at this week’s meeting of the full council (Thursday 29 August) surrounding the decision making timetable that appears on the council’s Dumfries Learning Town website. According to the timetable on the website, the council will begin a statutory consultation on the preferred option in January.
However, such a consultation is ONLY required if the option involving a new Senior School at the Crichton is agreed and would only begin AFTER a decision on the preferred option was made. This means that according to the timetable, full council will be asked to decide in January which option they prefer. This would only be weeks after the publication of the business cases- scheduled for December-given parents no time to give their views on the business cases. Labour are furious that councillors have never been consulted on a timetable that would mean councillors making a decision in January, but council officers have put the timetable on the council website. Whenquestioned on the issue today at full council by Councillor Leaver, the Chair of Education Gail McGregor refused to say who had agreed to the timetable on the council website.
Councillor Leaver commented:
“I am concerned that the council are deliberately timing decisions to minimise the public input. The timetable on the council’s Dumfries Learning Town website states that a statutory consultation on the Learning Town will be held in January next year. A statutory consultation can only be held after the full council has agreed a preferred option and would only be held if the option involving a new senior phase school was agreed. This means that full council will be making a decision on which option they want in January 2014, and at no time have councillors agreed to do that. Such a timetable would give the no time whatsoever for parents to comment on the two business cases as they don’t get published in December. It is totally unacceptable that the council are trying to sneak through a decision on the so-called super school right in the middle of the school Christmas holidays in the hope that parents won’t notice. This decision is about the future of local kids education yet at every opportunity the council are trying to prevent parents having a say. “