Pupil could be given seat on Edinburgh Council's education committee

A pupil could be given a place on the city council’s education committee while religious representatives could lose their voting rights under proposals to be discussed tomorrow.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 18:26 pm
Edinburgh City Chambers

The city council will consider adding members and voting rights on the education, children and families committee. The committee is currently made up of 11 councillors and has three religious representatives with voting rights and one parent representative – a non-voting member.

Green councillors will table an amendment calling for an “opportunity for young people to be represented on the committee”, as well as offering a second place to a parent representative. If agreed by councillors, all non-councillor members would lose voting rights.

Green education spokesperson, Cllr Mary Campbell, said: “I believe that, in making decisions which affect schools and nurseries, the council needs to hear much more from the people directly affected: that is, parents and, above all, young people. That is why I have proposed to boost the parent and pupil voice on the council’s education committee, and at the same time, ending the right of church representatives to vote on school matters.

“It is about rebalancing influence for the 21st century and taking the same step as at least three other councils. Pupils and parents need to be at the heart of education decisions.”

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But Conservatives will call for a decision to be delayed until August in order for a review of similar proposals being implemented by Perth and Kinross Council to be assessed.

Conservative education spokesman, Cllr Callum Laidlaw, said: “While the aim of pupil representation on the education committee is laudable, the Conservatives struggle to see how that can be achieved by bringing a single young person to sit on the committee and expecting them to be representative of our thousands of school pupils.

“We would like to see greater engagement by the department with schools using forums and digital tools to garner the opinions of a much broader base of young people, including those harder to reach pupils who are highly unlikely to put themselves forward for this proposed position.”