MSPs to visit Peterhead to discuss possible education system changes

Gillian Martin
Gillian Martin

A group of MSPs will come to the north-east to discuss potential changes to the education system.

Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee will be visiting Peterhead later this month.

Its members include Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin, the Conservative’s shadow education secretary Liz Smith and Ross Greer of the Green Party.

They will begin their day in the Blue Toon with a trip to the Scottish Maritime Academy to speak about the impact of Brexit.

The committee will then meet staff and pupils at Peterhead Academy to discuss Scottish Government proposals for changes to education.

Education secretary John Swinney unveiled his plans for the shake-up last year – which includes giving headteachers a raft of new powers as they become responsible for raising attainment. They would also be able to choose staff and directly control “significantly” more funding.

Parents could also be given a greater say in the running of schools.

It is these proposals that members will be asking about when they hold a formal meeting to question witnesses from the education sector, although it is yet to be confirmed who they will quiz.

This will be followed by a public discussion on the proposed transformation of education.

Committee convener James Dornan said: “The Scottish Government recently announced plans to reform education in Scotland.

“These include giving more power to headteachers over funding and staffing as well as encouraging more parental and community involvement in local education.

“Our committee want to find out what people across Scotland really think of these proposed changes and how these will affect education where you live in and work.

“This is why our committee will be coming to Peterhead to meet with staff and pupils to hear what they have to say.”

The meeting will take place in the Rescue Hall on Prince Street on January 29 with evidence being taken from 5.15pm and a public discussion starting at 6.30pm.

It is one of only two visits the committee will be having, with the other taking place in Glasgow.

The council’s top education boss has welcomed the committee’s visit to the north-east.

Vincent Docherty, head of education for Aberdeenshire Council, said: “I am delighted that the education committee of the Scottish Parliament is going to meet staff and pupils at Peterhead Academy on Monday, January 29.

“I hope they find their visit enjoyable and informative.”