Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NOT ONLY WILL THE SNP/LIB.DEMS. Close south primary but they will also treat the parents with contempt.

I suggested in my last post about this school closure that the SNP/Lib.Dems. will bottle it and and play truant at the public meeting.
They are nothing if not predictable when it comes to taking courageous decisions, it is with some satisfaction therefore that I can report to you that at last night’s meeting of the South School's parents and friends, they proved me right, they were conspicuous by their absence. They reverted to type and ran away, “homeward to think again”

Cllrs. Adam and Mitchell SNP and Cllr. McGurk Lib. Dem. all Cllrs. for the ward where the School is located avoided the meeting, they refused to meet the parents, they are cowards. Cllr. Eddie Devine attended as the Labout ward councillor along with several other Labour Cllrs. and Hugh Henry Labour MSP, they reported that the audience were furious at - a) the announced closure proposals and - b) the calculated insult by the SNP/Lib.Dem. Cllrs who didn’t bother to show up.

They were cowering and hiding from the consequences of their betrayal of the children, parents and staff of this outstanding school. It’s easy to take such decisions and posture before your group, the trouble is that the people affected will want to take issue with you, you should then come out from your closed meeting and face them, not to do so is a failure of nerve and a betrayal of the families.

What does this say about the sham proposals for a consultation ? The die is cast if this is the attitude of the administration, it’s “South Primary No More” and the carnage will go on. Some time ago there was a large meeting attended by several hundred in Shortroods to protest at the educational cuts, this meeting was, as they say, the “talk of the steamie” it was not unlike last night’s event only bigger. No one from the SNP or Lib. Dems. attended that one either, when challenged about her non attendance Education Convener Cllr. Cameron commented “I was not invited and, knew nothing about it“ other SNP Lib. Dem. Cllrs. said similar things, the crowd at the meeting alas did not believe them, some quite loudly called them liars !

When the Education Convener does not know that a huge meeting on education cuts is about to take place, despite the dogs in the street knowing as well as constant references in the local press and, in addition does not show at last nights meeting as well, it‘s clear that “something is rotten in the state of the Renfrewshire Education Dept.” The children know it, the teachers know it, the parents know it, the E.I.S. know it and the Labour opposition as well as the general public know it.

I hope that Parents, Teachers, Grand Parents, Uncles and Aunts, Students and everyone concerned about the educational welfare of Renfrewshire’s children will make a point of protesting, write, email, phone, visit the SNP/Lib. Dem. councillor’s surgeries and let them know what your feelings are about the dreadful treatment being meted out to Renfrewshire's Schoolchildren by this inexperienced incompitent SNP administration.

The SNP calls itself “Scotland’s Party” god help us all !


Anonymous said...

God this is sooooooo boring. Having met these two a couple of times, who in their right mind would want to go to a meeting with Hugh Henry, and Eddie Devine ! I'd rather stick needles in my eyes.

Is anyone prepared to answer the real questions.

Why is the school only a third full ?

Why do half of the parents in the catchment area send their kids to other schools.

As the role is falling month by month, at what point do you think it should close? 25%, 20%, 10%, or just wait till the last wean leaves primary 7 and switches out the lights ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 25/09/08

Here’s two questions for you.

1/ Why is it being closed on the grounds of being underused, when the SNP want to keep open Post Offices which are getting 16 customers a week ?

2/ If it is not cost effective as the SNP say, why are other schools in Renfrewshire being kept open which are more costly to run ?

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry,

1)Which post office in Paisley (or Renfrewshire) get 16 customers a week ?

2) I deliberatly did not mention money !Its not everything. Let's just put money aside for a moment.

Please, please answer my questions.

Why is the school only a third full ?

Why do half of the parents in the catchment area send their kids to other schools.

As the role is falling month by month, at what point do you think it should close? 25%, 20%, 10%, or just wait till the last wean leaves primary 7 and switches out the lights ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 09:43

The SNP were not talking about Paisley or Renfrewshire, they were talking about all Post Offices and in the U.K. there are 800 branches seeing 16 customers a week which they want to keep open, these are the official figures, go check, that’s what they said, it’s similar to an SNP promise like class sizes or police numbers.

There can be various reasons for parents not using their own school but, I can tell you that this school has just received a glowing report from HMIe go and check it for yourself. All things being equal if this was my nearest school I would have my children in it.

There has been 4 new children enrolled in the last couple of weeks, You try to run away from the facts when you talk about these percentages.

I asked you why the SNP wanted to save Post Offices with 16 customers a week and you haven’t answered also why the SNP insist in closing this school when there are others which are costing more to educate the kids. Go and check the facts they are closing this school to make financial cuts, it’s got nothing to do with improving education provision for the children.

Go and check it out, speak to the SNP read the board papers, stop lying about it to save the SNP‘s face.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was about a school not post offices. It is a very strange comparison to make.

I am surprised if the SNP are fighting to save presuably over 700post offices in England, Wales etc. as you imply. If so good for them.

I have just read the Council reports. Didn't mention any new children but seems 30 have left in past few years. It's even more of a mystery. If the school is so good why don't the parents want to send their kids to it ? What are the' various reasons' you mention ?

If it all about cuts then shurely the SNP would be shuting the other (more expensive)schools first. Your argument does not make sense.

For the third time, at what point do you think it should close? 25%, 20%, 10%, or just wait till the last wean leaves primary 7 and switches out the lights ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 28/09/08

You are either not paying attention or you are lying.

I’ll try again, the SNP reason for closing the school is financial, they say it’s not cost efficient, that is their reason, have you got that ?

At the same time the SNP are arguing that Post Offices which are dealing with 16 customers a week should be retained, got that ?

There are other schools in Renfrewshire which are less cost effective than South Primary which they are keeping open, have you got that ?

Your reference to percentages is completely spurious, there are schools all over the country where usage is very low but they are kept open for educational reasons and this school has an excellent educational record, have you checked the HMIe report ?

Anonymous said...

I am very much paying attention and I can't be accused of lying when I have not made any statements. Yes I have read the HMI report.

Clearly you are unable to answer what seems like some simple questions.

If, as you say, it is all about the SNP trying to save money then shurely they would be shuting those other more expensive schools.

If the school is so good (as the HMI report says) why don't parents want to send their kids to it ? What are the' various reasons' you mention ?

For the fourth and final time. At what point do you think it should close? 25%, 20%, 10%, or just wait till the last wean leaves primary 7 and switches out the lights ?

I don't see the point in you running this blog if you won't answer a few simple questions.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 09:18

Mum takes her children to be looked after by their Gran. on other side of town.

Child wants to go to same school as friend/cousin/Mum’s friend’s child who is not at this one.

Parent works closer to another school and wants to be able to pick up child easier.

Parent chooses denominational school.

Perhaps you can reciprocate and tell me why parents send their children to other schools, it goes on everywhere.

As far as your spurious question about percentages is concerned, as I have already answered it perhaps you should try this. Write down what it is that you want me to say and I will do that, what do you think ?

Anonymous said...

In answer to the other 'anonymous' comments and queries on South School.

1. Attendance :- Catchment areas were changed when the Todholm Primary school was increased reducing the numbers going to the South School. Furthermore there is little mention of the attainments of the children and school.
My child goes to South due to substandard teaching levels and bullying which has been taking place at one of the other local schools affected.

-Please refer to HMI report this year for South School which has never been matched by a Primary School in Renfrewshire.

The figures for current attendance and capacity for the affected schools is misleading since the information from their own school websites do not match council figures.

For example the West's states that they are currently at capacity, their figures also includes numbers at the nursery there -a fact not stated on reports.
-Check the detail for yourself

The South School figures does NOT include the fact that it currently has a nursery in place, so the potential capacity and attendance stated is incorrect.

2. Catchment Areas -

It's not just South School pupils that would be affected.

Proposed changes will mean that children starting school in August 2009 may not be in the same school as their brother/sister(s)

The children of South Primary will be split between Lochfield/Todholm and West Primary making class sizes larger.
-Don't think that's in the SNP or Lib/Dem manifesto.

-2 of the schools are >50 years old, both have parking and limited outdoor space for children & one is still to be refurbished at tax payers cost. (more upheaval for kids & parents)

Pupils residing in streets attending Lochfield Primary would not transfer to Todholm but future intakes from same addresses would. This change would mean that kids due to begin primary school in 2009would register at Todholm.
-Double trips for parents with 2 or more children?

Rezoning of part of Lochfield Primary catchment area to Bushes would mean that children who are due to begin primary school in 2009would register at Bushes instead of Todholm -same issue with siblings for some will be in separate schools.

This WILL also affect which High School children will attend in future.

There are "rumours" of a proposed development in the pipeline for the land at the South School -interesting to note that ther is no other proposal except the closure of the South School

-COINCIDENCE? -Money talks....

Consultation -interesting that this is being implemented whilst school holidays are in play and that new consultation guidelines with a greater scope for the community to be involved are under review by the Scottish Parliament but not yet in play.

Closure of Libraries, Nurseries and an Ice Rink, whilst thay can spend money freely on playing fields and an enlargement to a local Town Hall. Priorities?

IF this NEW SNP/LibDem council wishes to STAY in power they will have to listen to their constituents attend meetings with them when requested and not hide in the sand.

Please pass to your "colleagues".

Unhappy Parent (one of many)

Anonymous said...

To anonymous

Decrease in South School numbers month on month?

Don't think so.

-Would like to add that there were more new starts at the school this week.

Future Council projections for South School catchment shows a decrease in numbers and yet there are a number of planning/building applications for Housing in the area?

Even though though this consultation is being justified on basis of cost savings (read the report):-

There are 5 schools in Renfrewshire that are more expensive per head than the South School, don't see them closing...

Manipulated figures from Council Reports shouldn't be a surprise though,

-Clearly they do their usual & "Fit the Evidence to suit the Crime"

A Majority of 2 in the Council,
-NOT for much longer.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 11:46

The HMIe report was outstanding.

Having spoken to the head teacher and attended their parent meetings as their local Labour councillor I can assure you that the West School is not at capacity so maybe a recount of the affected schools should be carried out.

You are right, class sizes in other primaries will rise and children could be split from their friends, a quite traumatic thing at a young age.

The SNP manifesto was to reduce class sizes which we all now know was a lie, the Lib. Dems. don’t have a manifesto or a clue they are politically amoral and will sell out to whoever gives them the most.

The issue of what the land might or might not be used for is very important and we in the Labour Group will be taking steps to investigate this.

The SNP/Lib. Dem. Administration is officer led rather than politically led they are too inexperienced and incompetent to deal with experienced council officers who have budgets to meet and can sometimes be swayed by costs rather than what is best for the children’s education.

We are seeing that in terms of the closures and cuts which you outline.

I hope you win and I hope we in the Labour Group can help, we only have seventeen votes and the other parties have 23 you need to talk to them, it wasn’t a coincidence that none of them attended your meeting they are running away from their own decisions, Good Luck.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 13:12

Don’t waste you time arguing with those who write this nonsense about month on month decreases in the South School, they are politically motivated.

The 5 schools which are more expensive per head than South Primary should be supporting you because they could be next, you should be enlisting their support.

The HMIe report shows that this proposed closure is based solely on financial cuts and not what is best for the children’s education because, quite simply, the report points out that it would be impossible to get better provision than South Primary.

This Blog is read by between 3,500 to 4,000 new or returning readers every month and I will be glad to offer coverage of your campaign and any arguments which you want to publicise, send them to me through this channel and I will print them on the Blog, if any of you can set up a blog you should do so for this purpose, I don’t know how to do that but if you contact me I can try to find someone to do this for you. I understand that it is not difficult or expensive, possibly even free. I would be glad to advertise it. Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

I would like someone to explain to me the rationale behind :-

1. Closing a 22 year old school & transferring children to 2 schools that are both almost 100 years old.

2. Then spending £5million of taxpayers money on EACH. Both have been given a "poor" rating in published Govt reports on school buildings and facilities.

3 Oh and as for the USUAL argument about 2/3 empty. The catchment areas are so screwed up in South Paisley that South Primary has the smallest catchment area in the district, where kids even across the street from the school go elsewhere.

4. And to ADD INSULT to injury lets reorganise the Catchment areas and close the 22 year old school at the same time.

Make SENSE? -ONLY to the SNP/LIB DEM councillors in their Ivory Towers -Not the taxpayer.

Not interested in the tit-for-tat "panto attitude" of Councillors just the plain facts..

At this rate expect this issue still to be on the table for the next election in 2 years time...
-it will come back to haunt Messrs MacKay & Co at the next election along with all the other Renfrewshire closures that have happened and are in the pipeline UNLESS they start listening to the electorate.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Sean B. 5.13 pm.

Sean why is your post hidden away back here ? where have you been the school could use your help, still better late etc.