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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 17 March 2005

Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

  1. Education: Lord James Douglas-Hamilton moved S2M-2597—That the Parliament acknowledges that, as a result of the current government’s centralising agenda and top-down approach, education in Scotland is characterised by low levels of attainment, alarming levels of indiscipline in too many of our schools, inadequate vocational provision and over-regulation; believes that developing a system of independently-managed but publicly-funded schools will reduce inequality by giving all parents a choice of school for their children; believes that, as well as supporting alternatives to exclusion, headteachers should have the right in statute to exclude violent and disruptive pupils permanently; opposes the repeal of the School Boards Act 1988 and believes that parents should retain their statutory rights regarding the appointment of headteachers and deputy headteachers; supports the retention of charitable status for independent schools and the extension of this status to all schools that wish it; believes that schools for children with special educational needs are vital to ensure that all are catered for and should be maintained where there is a demand, and notes that the direct funding of schools by the Scottish Executive on a per capita basis will create competition, drive up standards and benefit the council tax payer.

The Minister for Education and Young People (Peter Peacock) moved amendment S2M-2597.3 to motion S2M-2597—

Leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert—

“recognises the dedication of teachers and support staff in Scotland’s schools to achieving excellent outcomes for the young people of Scotland; supports the Scottish Executive’s agenda for the most comprehensive modernisation programme in Scottish schools for a generation, as described in Ambitious, Excellent Schools; acknowledges the Executive’s commitment to building on the investment and successes in education over recent years; welcomes plans to bring a transformation in ambition and achievement through higher expectations for schools and school leadership, and recognises greater freedom for teachers and schools, better parental involvement and choice for pupils, increased and further enhancement of school/college partnerships to extend learning opportunities for pupils and better support for learning so that the individual needs of young people can be better met through tough, intelligent accountabilities to drive improvement.”

Fiona Hyslop moved amendment S2M-2597.1 to motion S2M-2597—

Leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert—

“recognises the efforts of teachers to deliver a quality education for pupils in increasingly challenging circumstances, the potential of Scotland's pupils to succeed and the need for national government resources, which directly impact on the classroom experience, to provide sufficient time and attention for pupils from teachers in a peaceful, stimulating environment with a relevant, flexible curriculum for them to achieve that potential, and calls on the Scottish Executive to, in particular, develop policies to cut class sizes, to examine the plethora of initiatives and complexity of competitively bid-for funding streams and to reassess the impact of, and support given to, its social inclusion and mainstreaming agenda to ensure that all children can get the most out of their time in school education.”

Tommy Sheridan moved amendment S2M-2597.2 to motion S2M-2597—

Leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert—

“fully endorses a comprehensive education system based on equality of opportunity for all from the nursery sector through to secondary education and beyond; supports a reduction in class sizes to no more than 20 or, indeed, less, along with suitably-qualified support teachers with expertise in working alongside classroom teachers to support pupils with special educational needs and social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, and recognises that early intervention in early years, learning styles and developing emotional intelligence are key areas that require different approaches to learning and teaching, alongside flexibility to ensure that all children and young people reach their potential.”

After debate, amendment S2M-2597.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 19, Abstentions 25). As a result, amendments S2M-2597.1 and S2M-2597.2 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 17, Abstentions 28).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament “recognises the dedication of teachers and support staff in Scotland’s schools to achieving excellent outcomes for the young people of Scotland; supports the Scottish Executive’s agenda for the most comprehensive modernisation programme in Scottish schools for a generation, as described in Ambitious, Excellent Schools; acknowledges the Executive’s commitment to building on the investment and successes in education over recent years; welcomes plans to bring a transformation in ambition and achievement through higher expectations for schools and school leadership, and recognises greater freedom for teachers and schools, better parental involvement and choice for pupils, increased and further enhancement of school/college partnerships to extend learning opportunities for pupils and better support for learning so that the individual needs of young people can be better met through tough, intelligent accountabilities to drive improvement.”

  1. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

  2. Question Time: Questions were answered by the Minister for Education and Young People (Peter Peacock) and the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Patricia Ferguson); by the Minister for Finance and Public Sector Reform (Mr Tom McCabe) and the Minister for Communities (Malcolm Chisholm); and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

  3. Ministerial Statement: The Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care (Rhona Brankin) made a statement and answered questions on Dentistry.

  4. Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill: The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson) moved S2M-2353—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) .

  1. Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution: The Deputy Minister for Justice (Hugh Henry) moved S2M-2227—That the Parliament, for the purposes of any Act of the Scottish Parliament resulting from the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill, agrees to any increase in expenditure of a kind referred to in Rule 9.12.3(b)(iii) of the Parliament’s Standing Orders arising in consequence of the Act.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

  1. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2586—That the Parliament agrees—

    (a) that consideration of the Housing (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 1 July 2005;

    (b) that consideration of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Bill at Stage 2 be completed by 13 May 2005;

    (c) that consideration of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill at Stage 2 be completed by 25 May 2005;

    (d) that consideration of the Family Law (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 16 September 2005;

    (e) that the Justice 1 Committee report to the Justice 2 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Antisocial Behaviour (Fixed Penalty Notice) (Additional Information) (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/130);

    (f) that the Justice 2 Committee report to the Justice 1 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Bail Conditions (Specification of Devices) and Restriction of Liberty Order (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/142).

The motion was agreed to.

  1. Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2598—That the Parliament agrees that Mr Brian Monteith be appointed to replace Mr David Davidson as the Conservative Party substitute on the Enterprise and Culture Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

  1. Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2599—That the Parliament agrees that Mary Scanlon be appointed as the Conservative Party substitute on the Health Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

  1. Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau moved S2M-2600—That the Parliament agrees that Mr David Davidson be appointed to replace Mr Brian Monteith as the Conservative Party substitute on the Local Government and Transport Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

  1. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 as noted above.

  2. Commonwealth Week, 14 to 20 March 2005: Year of Africa: The Parliament debated S2M-2483 in the name of Margaret Ewing—That the Parliament welcomes the well-established work undertaken by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) (Scotland Branch) and the Scottish Executive since the establishment of the Parliament in 1999 to strengthen ties between Scotland and other Commonwealth countries; notes that this year the CPA (Scotland Branch) and the Executive have, as their key focus, sub-Saharan Africa; regards this as totally appropriate in the Year of Africa; welcomes Scotland’s long-standing humanitarian work to help the poorest nations in sub-Saharan Africa, and therefore considers that all MSPs should support sustained assistance which can eradicate poverty and the cycle of deprivation which causes millions of deaths per year in sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. Motion without Notice: Mrs Margaret Ewing moved without notice that, under Rule 8.14.3, the debate be extended until 6.13 pm.

    The motion was agreed to.

The meeting closed at 6.13 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
17 March 2005

Appendix
(Note: this Appendix does not form part of the Minutes)

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 17 March 2005 and are subject to annulment—

The Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland (Appointment of President, Conveners and Members and Disqualification) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/155)

laid under section 34 of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Prescribed Police Stations) (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/156)

laid under section 138 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003