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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 1 June 2006

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Education: Lord James Douglas-Hamilton moved S2M-4464—That the Parliament believes that creating a greater degree of school autonomy, devolving more powers to head teachers and giving greater say to parents and teachers in shaping the education system will raise standards; is therefore disappointed at the abolition of school boards which will dilute parental representation in schools; notes that Jordanhill School, Scotland’s only remaining independently run but publicly funded school, has consistently been among the top-performing schools in Scotland and won the SQA “School of the Year” award; notes that teaching unions are voicing concerns over the Scottish Executive’s discipline and mainstreaming policies, and calls on the Executive to introduce reforms to create a more diverse education system in Scotland to raise standards, tackle discipline and serve the needs and aspirations of all pupils.

Robert Brown moved amendment S2M-4464.2 to motion S2M-4464—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“applauds the fact that the Scottish education system is recognised by international benchmarking exercises as being amongst the best in the world; recognises the commitment of the Scottish Executive to sustained improvement in education and the biggest school buildings modernisation programme in our history, unprecedented stability in industrial relations and increased numbers of teachers and classroom assistants; welcomes the educational legislation which has, for example, established a more individual and supportive framework for children with additional support needs and increased the opportunities for parental involvement in education; notes that the top-performing schools in Scotland have served a wide variety of communities and congratulates all the winners of the SQA “School of the Year” award; welcomes the measured comments of the EIS in relation to discipline policies of the Scottish Executive, andbelieves that the model for continued improvement for Scottish schools should build on current strength and success and tackle known challenges by fostering the leadership skills of head teachers and other teaching staff, reforming the curriculum, widening choice and reducing unnecessary paperwork, ensuring that teachers are freed up to teach, and pupils to learn, all with a view to equipping young people with the skills and values needed in the modern world.”

Fiona Hyslop moved amendment S2M-4464.1 to motion S2M-4464—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“supports greater choice within schools, rather than between schools, in order that pupils can benefit from breadth in the curriculum and believes that the agenda for education in Scotland should be focused on raising the levels of achievement for all and should include a review of the deployment of education resources at school level against the national resources provided, an analysis of over-assessment in schools and policies to drive forward the pursuit of excellence.”

After debate, amendment S2M-4464.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 67, Against 22, Abstentions 20). As a result, amendment S2M-4464.1 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 87, Against 22, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved— That the Parliament applauds the fact that the Scottish education system is recognised by international benchmarking exercises as being amongst the best in the world; recognises the commitment of the Scottish Executive to sustained improvement in education and the biggest school buildings modernisation programme in our history, unprecedented stability in industrial relations and increased numbers of teachers and classroom assistants; welcomes the educational legislation which has, for example, established a more individual and supportive framework for children with additional support needs and increased the opportunities for parental involvement in education; notes that the top-performing schools in Scotland have served a wide variety of communities and congratulates all the winners of the SQA “School of the Year” award; welcomes the measured comments of the EIS in relation to discipline policies of the Scottish Executive, andbelieves that the model for continued improvement for Scottish schools should build on current strength and success and tackle known challenges by fostering the leadership skills of head teachers and other teaching staff, reforming the curriculum, widening choice and reducing unnecessary paperwork, ensuring that teachers are freed up to teach, and pupils to learn, all with a view to equipping young people with the skills and values needed in the modern world.

2. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

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

4. Emergency Question: An emergency question on the implications and possible consequences of the illness of the Lord President, Lord Hamilton was answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Education, Tourism, Culture and Sport, and on Finance and Public Services and Communities were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

6. Architecture: The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Patricia Ferguson) moved S2M-4477—That the Parliament appreciates the importance of architecture to many aspects of life in Scotland; recognises that both our new and historic buildings have a critical role to play in sustainable regeneration and in delivering successful urban and rural places; acknowledges the wide range of progress that has been made through partnership in implementing the commitments of the Scottish Executive’s policy on architecture, and supports the Executive’s intention to publish a renewed policy statement.

Michael Matheson moved amendment S2M-4477.2 to motion S2M-4477—

Leave out from “both” to end and insert—

“our buildings have a critical role to play in maintaining and enhancing the quality of Scotland's urban and rural communities; notes the progress made to date on the Scottish Executive's policy on architecture; acknowledges the important role that local authorities have in promoting good architectural design, and believes that future national architectural policy should place greater emphasis on local authorities developing their own local architectural policy.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 48, Against 61, Abstentions 0).

Mr Jamie McGrigor moved amendment S2M-4477.1 to motion S2M-4477—

Leave out from “through partnership” to end and insert—

“in this area by independent and voluntary organisations including the Lighthouse and An Lanntair; notes the importance of the efficient use of existing building stock, and believes that a strong economy and a fair planning system are integral to a successful built environment.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 93, Abstentions 0).

Robin Harper moved amendment S2M-4477.3 to motion S2M-4477—

Insert at end—

“; recognises the crucial role played by architectural policy in promoting environmental sustainability and social equality, and calls on the Executive to move in a measured way from guidance to regulation to provide a level playing field to encourage all constructors, developers and planning departments to work with architects to achieve the highest possible levels of sustainability, particularly in relation to procurement, refurbishment of existing buildings, energy efficiency, low-toxicity, recycling and re-use of materials and new build on a long-life, loose-fit basis.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 33, Against 74, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 87, Against 1, Abstentions 21).

7. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1 and 6 as noted above.

8. World Heritage Site Status for St Andrews: The Parliament debated S2M-4344 in the name of Mr Ted Brocklebank—That the Parliament supports a campaign to encourage the UK Government to obtain from UNESCO World Heritage Site status for St Andrews; recognises that St Andrews is the home of golf, the world’s fastest-growing sport; further recognises that it is also the historic ecclesiastical capital of Scotland; believes that its cultural and educational contributions, in particular those of Scotland’s oldest university, should be formally acknowledged; notes that St Andrews is regarded worldwide as unique, not only for its medieval town centre but also for its captivating and award-winning natural features; considers that the Scottish Executive should support St Andrews as an outstanding Scottish candidate for the UK Tentative List, and further notes that a consultation with every household in St Andrews showed 99% support for this move, as well as support from St Andrews Community Council, the University of St Andrews, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the St Andrews Links Trust, St Andrews Preservation Trust, Scottish Enterprise Fife, the St Andrews Green Belt Forum, Action of Churches Together in St Andrews and cross-party political support from distinguished St Andrews graduates, including Lord Alton, Lord Forsyth, Mark Lazarowicz MP, Alex Salmond MP and many others.

The meeting closed at 5.38 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
1 June 2006


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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 31 May 2006

Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill—The Bill was reprinted as passed (SP Bill 47B) (Executive Bill).

Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill—The Bill was reprinted as passed (SP Bill 46B) (Executive Bill).

Committee Reports

For further information on accessing committee reports, please contact either the relevant clerk or webpage (see end of Bulletin for contact details or access general committee webpage )

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/index.htm

The following reports were published on 1 June 2006—

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 9th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 586)

Justice 1 Committee, 7th Report 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 587)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 26th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 588)