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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 7 September 2006

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Education First: The Minister for Education and Young People (Peter Peacock) moved S2M-4755—That the Parliament welcomes the priority given to improving education standards by the Scottish Executive and the achievements delivered by schools, local authorities and other partners in taking forward the comprehensive modernisation of our schools and ensuring that Scotland’s education system is amongst the best in the world; recognises that the Executive’s investment in new and refurbished schools, increased teacher numbers, reducing class sizes, strong parental involvement, stable industrial relations and more targeted support for children with additional support needs is providing the right environment for real and lasting change for Scotland’s children; believes that the education of all Scotland’s children and young people is fundamental to securing a more productive, integrated and successful Scotland in which all our young people can compete in a global economy and all our 16 to 19-year-olds are in education, employment or training, and calls on all those in the Parliament to focus on Scotland’s future and put the education of our children before divisive arguments about separating Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Fiona Hyslop moved amendment S2M-4755.3 to motion S2M-4755—

Leave out from “the priority” to end and insert—

“continuing excellence within Scotland’s distinct and independent education system, appreciated internationally for its pioneering work in quality improvement; recognises the challenges faced by schools, education authorities and other partners to modernise the school estate, to drive up standards and to tackle deep-seated problems such as persistent under-performance among disadvantaged pupils; notes that the Scottish Executive’s promises to cut class sizes and adequately resource additional support needs remain unfulfilled; supports requests from school leaders for more funding for schools to be devolved, real cuts in class sizes, nursery teachers to remain in nursery classes and for the introduction of free school meals in the early years; calls for the replacement of PPP funding for school modernisation by not-for-profit trust funding; believes that the education of all Scotland’s children and young people is fundamental to securing a more productive, integrated and successful Scotland in which all our young people can participate fully, and looks forward to further strengthening of our distinctive education system using the enhanced powers and resources at the command of an independent parliament.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 35, Against 78, Abstentions 4).

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton moved amendment S2M-4755.2 to motion S2M-4755—

Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

"believes that the Scottish Executive is failing too many valued members of school staff in that incidences of physical and verbal assault remain commonplace in Scottish classrooms to the extent that, according to the Educational Institute of Scotland, “Teachers continue to regard the matter of indiscipline and how to solve it as their number one priority”; believes that special schools should have an important and secure place in Scotland’s educational system and should not be under threat; believes that the Executive is failing parents by abolishing tried and tested school boards against the overwhelming weight of public opinion, and therefore calls on the Executive to reconsider its decision to abolish school boards, give stronger support to special schools and ensure that head teachers have the authority to permanently exclude persistently disruptive pupils".

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 100, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 46, Abstentions 9).

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. Themed Question Time: Questions on Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning, and on Justice and Law Officers were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers and by the Scottish Law Officers.

5. Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill – Stage 1: The Deputy Minister for Justice (Hugh Henry) moved S2M-4713—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 115, Against 1, Abstentions 2).

6. Membership of Committee: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-4758—That the Parliament agrees that Carolyn Leckie be appointed to replace Frances Curran on the Equal Opportunities Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

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

8. C-me West Lothian: The Parliament debated S2M-4387 in the name of Mrs Mary Mulligan—That the Parliament congratulates West Lothian Council, NHS Lothian, Lothian and Borders Police and the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration for launching the C-me information-sharing system which, at a time when there is a great deal of concern about child protection issues, is an example of agencies working together to create a clear picture of a child’s needs through sharing relevant background information and will improve the delivery of services to children throughout West Lothian.

The meeting closed at 5.30 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
7 September 2006

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

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 7 September 2006 and are subject to annulment—

The Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/456)

laid under section 88(3) of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005

The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (Consequential Modifications and Savings) (No. 2) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/457)

laid under sections 87(1) and 88(2)(a) of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 7 September 2006—

Local Government and Transport Committee, 11th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 626)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 32nd Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 627)

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 13th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 628)