Leader: ‘Plan for one parent voice questionable’

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AT FIRST glance the move by Edinburgh City Council to introduce parent representation to the Education, Children And Families Committee appears to be a positive one. Parents are key stakeholders in all aspects of the council’s work and allowing them a direct voice at meetings seems sensible.

Indeed, there are already teacher representatives and religious representatives on the committee.

There will be benefits. The ability to convey important points can always be made in writing but having an individual on the committee allows subtle points to be talked through, issues clarified and follow-up questions raised.

There are question marks, however.

Edinburgh’s plan allows for only one parent voice which, given the complexity of the issues surrounding schools alone, would be difficult for one person to be knowledgeable about. The last council administration, for example, announced a programme of school closures. How, could one parent accurately understand the local feeling at all these schools? In addition, what happens when opinion is polarised?

Currently, there is a heated debate about a new high school for Portobello. Could one person accurately convey the views of both sides?

And would a parent of a primary school pupil necessarily know about the issues being faced in secondary schools? The answer is that one person would not be able to reflect this. And 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.

So, top marks to the council for the idea. However, in the margin we must scrawl: needs more work on the detail. C+

Lotto nonsense

The Lottery has funded many worthy projects in Edinburgh and the Lothians over the years – but will the Dunbar igloo really be one?

The decision to spend £10,000 on a cinema which will operate for just four days appears bizarre, and the likelihood of this leading to a permanent £2 million complex seems incredibly ambitious.

Perhaps there is a demand for such a facility but this is an expensive way to find out especially when there are many other groups and charities who could put such an amount of money to good use.

The Evening News has this week highlighted the campaign to save Edinburgh’s First World War training trenches for future generations – a project which would itself cost £10,000. Surely that would be less of a gamble?