Swinney owes parents an apology over school autonomy

15 Jun 2017

Liz Smith

John Swinney should apologise to parents at schools who want to come out of local authority control, following his statement in Holyrood today.

For years, the SNP has hinted it would allow parents, such as those at St Joseph’s Primary in East Dunbartonshire, to take control.

However, the education secretary said such a move would not be part of Scottish Government school reforms today, which instead focused on more minor measures.

The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly called on ministers to give parents the power to take schools out of local authority control if it was in the best interests of teachers and pupils.

The campaign group linked to St Joseph’s has also met with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as part of its drive to make changes to Scottish Government policy.

Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said:

“We want to see a school system that encompasses more choice and diversity, giving real devolution to headteachers.

“That’s because we believe it’s the existing system, not our teachers, which is responsible for delivering weaker standards in so many areas of our schools.

“So while we welcome the general principles behind the reforms, we don’t think the reforms go nearly far enough.

“They are half-baked and only pay lip-service to real devolution.

“These reforms are not enough to deal with the root cause of the problems faced.”

Scottish Conservative West of Scotland MSP Maurice Golden said:

“John Swinney owes the parents of St Joseph’s a full apology.

“For two-and-a-half years, the parents of St Joseph’s have been strung along by the Scottish Government.

“They’ve been led to believe that their plans would be given a fair hearing. It turns out those assurances counted for nothing.

“This whole episode has shown up a Scottish Government which doesn’t listen.

“The SNP should be ashamed of the way it’s handled this from start to finish.”

The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly called for parents to be able to take schools out of local authority control: