The controversy over the building of a new school for Portobello, the planned closure of Castlebrae high school and ongoing concerns over the Curriculum for Excellence are just some high-profile examples of the concerns that many parents have about education provision in Lothian.
It is welcome, therefore, that the first parent representative on Edinburgh City Council’s education committee has been appointed with the aim of giving mothers and fathers a stronger voice within the City Chambers.
The move is a step forward and should be welcomed, particularly as there are already religious representatives and teacher representatives at meetings of the education committee. Quite why parents have not been allowed this position before is anomalous.
Lindsay Law, current chair of Broughton Primary’s parent council, will have a tough task, however.
She will have to represent the views of parents and children, often on polarised issues where a clear consensus is not apparent. As she has acknowledged, it might have been better to have two people, one from primary and one from secondary, where the concerns can be very different.
The previous council administration, for example, announced a city-wide programme of school closures. How, could one parent accurately understand the local feeling at all these schools? The wider danger is that consulting properly with parents would become less of a priority for the authority, leaving parents with less of a voice than before.
However, if the new council sees this position as part of a wider move towards giving parents a greater say in the running of our schools, this will be a great stride forward.
Let’s go to work
It is not long ago that you may have struggled to find 30 people in Edinburgh who would go near a tram.
Today we report how that number are chasing every one of just 12 jobs as drivers on the route.
It is hopefully as much a sign of renewed confidence in the project as it moves forward, as it is a stark example of the current economic climate.
Becoming a tram driver is clearly an attractive proposition, although admittedly part of that may be because there may not be much to do until summer 2014.
Let’s hope those who are eventually chosen to take the controls are able to get to work sooner rather than later.