Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, this week met with a number of parents representing Parent Councils from Sgoil nan Loch, Balallan School, Pairc School, Shelibost School and Leverhume Memorial School regarding the provision of specialist teachers.
Alasdair Allan commented:
“I understand the concerns that Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s recent decision on specialist teachers has caused the parents in these schools.
“As I understand it, the position is that specialist PE teaching has ceased in these five schools, and that, should positions become vacant in future, specialist music including Gaelic music, as well as art, will end too. “I understand the financial pressures which the Comhairle faces, as do the parents who asked to meet me last night. However, what the relevant parent councils find hard to understand is the lack of consultation over this decision, which certainly took the schools by surprise. They also feel there has been no explanation why, if resources are scarce, that these subjects have been rationed on the basis that some schools get no specialist provision at all, when provision is continued elsewhere.
“It is difficult to see, how stopping specialist PE teaching squares with the Comhairle’s undoubted commitment to tackling childhood obesity. I would also be interested to know what consideration has been given to whether the alternative provision by class teachers is something they feel confident about doing, and whether it meets the “two hours of good quality PE” the Scottish Government aspires to nationally.
“Likewise, ceasing Gaelic music provision in the future is obviously not helpful to the future of schools’ participation in Mods, or indeed to the Comhairle’s commitment to supporting the development of Gaelic.
“I have therefore written to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to ask what solutions have been considered in terms of children traveling to join other schools classes, rather than removing some specialist provision altogether.”