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Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 3, No. 60 Session 3

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 11 March 2010

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. The Management of Schools: Elizabeth Smith moved S3M-5926—That the Parliament agrees with the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning that “choice and diversity are the hallmarks of a mature and confident society” in the provision of state-funded education and that it is now time to explore alternative models for delivery of school education with a view to empowering head teachers, raising standards and increasing parental choice; welcomes the community trust model for schools put forward by East Lothian Council as worthy of further examination and believes that this and other models to be found elsewhere in Europe should be the subject of detailed consideration and debate, and calls on the Scottish Government to publish an options paper on models of school organisation to facilitate this.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Michael Russell) moved amendment S3M-5926.3 to motion S3M-5926—

After “debate” insert—

“; recognises that Scottish education is generally of good quality with many important strengths; believes that any alternative models that are considered should build on these strengths and preclude academic selection as a legitimate criterion for school entry”.

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

Des McNulty moved amendment S3M-5926.2 to motion S3M-5926—

Leave out from “and that it is now” to end and insert—

“; supports schools and teachers being given more opportunities to innovate and head teachers greater control over school budgets; believes that the education system should incorporate both parental choice and local accountability; further believes that schools should encourage every child to achieve to the best of their ability and not be sources of social division, and considers that the Scottish education system should be open to learning from experience elsewhere in the United Kingdom or Europe in the interests of raising standards, reducing the achievement gap and meeting the needs of every pupil.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 44, Against 69, Abstentions 1).

Margaret Smith moved amendment S3M-5926.1 to motion S3M-5926—

Insert at end—

“; believes that any changes to the model of school organisation should be motivated by raising attainment and improving pupil outcomes rather than profit and dogma; recognises the benefits of greater community and parental involvement in the management of schools; notes that the implementation of a new curriculum, falling teacher numbers and straitened budgets remain key areas of concern for education professionals, and recognises the cross-party consensus behind the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee’s examination of the management of schools.”

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

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 67, Against 3, Abstentions 43).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament agrees with the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning that “choice and diversity are the hallmarks of a mature and confident society” in the provision of state-funded education and that it is now time to explore alternative models for delivery of school education with a view to empowering head teachers, raising standards and increasing parental choice; welcomes the community trust model for schools put forward by East Lothian Council as worthy of further examination and believes that this and other models to be found elsewhere in Europe should be the subject of detailed consideration and debate; recognises that Scottish education is generally of good quality with many important strengths; believes that any alternative models that are considered should build on these strengths and preclude academic selection as a legitimate criterion for school entry, and calls on the Scottish Government to publish an options paper on models of school organisation to facilitate this; believes that any changes to the model of school organisation should be motivated by raising attainment and improving pupil outcomes rather than profit and dogma; recognises the benefits of greater community and parental involvement in the management of schools; notes that the implementation of a new curriculum, falling teacher numbers and straitened budgets remain key areas of concern for education professionals, and recognises the cross-party consensus behind the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee’s examination of the management of schools.

2. General Question Time:  Questions were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

3. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Alex Salmond).

4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Education and Lifelong Learning, and on Europe, External Affairs and Culture were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

5. Serious and Organised Crime: The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved S3M-5929—That the Parliament recognises that serious organised crime can have a devastating impact on communities and businesses in Scotland; further recognises that tackling this menace should be a key priority for a Safer and Stronger Scotland; supports the role of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce in spearheading Scotland’s commitment to address this type of crime; supports Scottish law enforcement in implementing the taskforce’s serious organised crime strategy, Letting our Communities Flourish, and supports the view that serious organised crime cannot be seen to pay.

Richard Baker moved amendment S3M-5929.2 to motion S3M-5929—

Insert at end—

“; believes that the Scottish Government should ensure that there are no further delays in the construction of the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh, which was originally due for completion this year but is now not expected to be fully operational until mid-2013; supports the crucial role played by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency in ensuring that there is a co-ordinated strategy to tackling serious and organised crime in Scotland, and also believes that the Scottish Government must make progress in implementing the findings of the Joint Thematic Report on the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland and the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland, to ensure that there is greater success in seizing and recovering the assets of those who profit from crime.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 56, Against 1, Abstentions 58).

Bill Aitken moved amendment S3M-5929.1 to motion S3M-5929—

Insert at end—

“and asks the Scottish Government to keep the entire issue of serious and organised crime under review in order that any further measures that may be deemed necessary can be considered.”

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

Robert Brown moved amendment S3M-5929.3 to motion S3M-5929—

Insert at end—

“; believes that, while good progress has been made on the recovery of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce must ensure that police and prosecutors use the Act to its full extent; notes with concern that there are no current convictions for human trafficking in Scotland, despite Glasgow being considered to be second only to London for the extent of people trafficking, and calls on the Scottish Government to take urgent, concerted and properly resourced action to break the misery of sex trafficking and to identify and support women being trafficked to Scotland, particularly in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.”

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

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to (DT).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises that serious organised crime can have a devastating impact on communities and businesses in Scotland; further recognises that tackling this menace should be a key priority for a Safer and Stronger Scotland; supports the role of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce in spearheading Scotland’s commitment to address this type of crime; supports Scottish law enforcement in implementing the taskforce’s serious organised crime strategy, Letting our Communities Flourishand supports the view that serious organised crime cannot be seen to pay; believes that the Scottish Government should ensure that there are no further delays in the construction of the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh, which was originally due for completion this year but is now not expected to be fully operational until mid-2013; supports the crucial role played by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency in ensuring that there is a co-ordinated strategy to tackling serious and organised crime in Scotland, and also believes that the Scottish Government must make progress in implementing the findings of the Joint Thematic Report on the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland and the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland, to ensure that there is greater success in seizing and recovering the assets of those who profit from crime and asks the Scottish Government to keep the entire issue of serious and organised crime under review in order that any further measures that may be deemed necessary can be considered; believes that, while good progress has been made on the recovery of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce must ensure that police and prosecutors use the Act to its full extent; notes with concern that there are no current convictions for human trafficking in Scotland, despite Glasgow being considered to be second only to London for the extent of people trafficking, and calls on the Scottish Government to take urgent, concerted and properly resourced action to break the misery of sex trafficking and to identify and support women being trafficked to Scotland, particularly in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

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

7. St Margaret of Scotland Hospice: The Parliament debated S3M-5336 in the name of Des McNulty—That the Parliament notes with deep concern the decision of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to remove the funding for 30 continuing care beds from the St Margaret of Scotland Hospice in Clydebank by 2013, which will impact adversely on the service model provided by the hospice’s dedicated staff as well as on the hospice’s finances; notes that this decision came immediately after an inspection by the Care Commission that rated provision at the St Margaret of Scotland Hospice as being excellent on every indicator, and believes that the approach adopted by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in its dealings with the hospice is unacceptable.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
11 March 2010