Council education chiefs to be quizzed by MSPs in Peterhead

Laurence Findlay, Moray Council's education director

Education chiefs from two north-east councils are to be quizzed by MSPs in Peterhead next week.

Laurence Findlay education director for Moray and Aberdeenshire’s director of education Maria Walker will be giving evidence to Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee.

It comes as the committee continues to scrutinise Scottish Government proposals for a major shake-up of the sector.

They are holding a formal evidence session with the local authority bosses in the town’s Rescue Hall on Monday evening.

Moray Council have confirmed Mr Findlay, who is also interim leader of the Northern Alliance group of eight local authorities, will be delivering the opening statement.

Aberdeenshire Council had already confirmed their education boss would be there.

Helen Shanks, Aberdeen City Council’s head of education was due to speak to the committee but is unable to attend.

Committee convener James Dornan MSP said it is important for them to hear from people who are at the coal face of education.

He said: “It’s always important when we are scrutinising Government reforms that we hear from those who it affects the most.

“That’s why we will be in Peterhead on Monday in order to hear the views of the teachers, pupils, and parents who live and work here about what the Scottish Government’s proposed changes to education will mean in practice.

“We specifically wanted to come to the north-east because of teacher shortages and also the positive work of the Northern Alliance.

“When we visited Glasgow earlier this month the passion and commitment of those working in education was clear to see and I have no doubt that our visit to the north-east will be no different.”

Most of the evidence heard will focus on the blueprints being put forward by education secretary John Swinney.

They include giving headteachers a raft of new powers as they become responsible for raising attainment, being able to choose staff and directly control “significantly” more funding.

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