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No. 71 Thursday 4 May 2000

The meeting opened at 9.30 am .

1. Discipline in Schools: Mr Brian Monteith moved S1M-792—That the Parliament believes that improved discipline in Scottish schools would contribute greatly to improved educational standards and would improve teacher morale; further believes that the introduction of targets to reduce the number of pupil exclusions can have a negative impact on discipline; recognises that a more flexible approach is required that puts faith in the judgement of headteachers to resolve individual cases on their merits, and calls upon the Scottish Executive to abandon its agenda of target setting for numbers of school exclusions in favour of an approach based on the needs of individual children, their peers and teachers backed up by appropriate resources to provide the diversity of educational provision and sanctions against bad behaviour that are required to improve discipline.

The Deputy Minister for Children and Education moved amendment S1M-792.2 to motion S1M-792—

Leave out from first “believes” to end and insert—

“, whilst acknowledging the problem of maintaining discipline in schools, supports the Scottish Executive's continuing work to promote good discipline in schools; endorses the Scottish Executive's commitment to training and support for teachers in maintaining good discipline in the classroom; welcomes the provision of resources from the Excellence Fund to identify viable alternatives to exclusion from school and to integrate the support services for children and their families within the school setting, and welcomes the Scottish Executive's moves to encourage the greater involvement of parents in their children's education.”

Nicola Sturgeon moved amendment S1M-792.1 to motion S1M-792—

Leave out from “improved discipline” to end and insert—

“indiscipline in Scottish schools undermines efforts to improve educational standards for all children and damages teacher morale; believes that whilst exclusion of pupils from schools should always be a last resort, headteachers' professional judgement must not be unduly restricted by the imposition of statistical targets for reducing exclusions; and calls upon the Scottish Executive to implement a national strategy for improving school discipline which includes an emphasis on the role of parents, improved teacher training, enhanced specialist provision in schools, increased numbers of learning and behavioural support teachers, a reduction in class sizes, and a constructive use of exclusions.”

After debate, amendment S1M-792.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 60, Against 17, Abstentions 29). As a result, amendment S1M-792.1 was pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 18, Abstentions 28).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament, whilst acknowledging the problem of maintaining discipline in schools, supports the Scottish Executive's continuing work to promote good discipline in schools; endorses the Scottish Executive's commitment to training and support for teachers in maintaining good discipline in the classroom; welcomes the provision of resources from the Excellence Fund to identify viable alternatives to exclusion from school and to integrate the support services for children and their families within the school setting, and welcomes the Scottish Executive's moves to encourage the greater involvement of parents in their children's education.

2. Services for Elderly and Disabled People: Mary Scanlon moved S1M-790—That the Parliament notes that many elderly and disabled citizens across Scotland feel let down by the Scottish Executive and its failure to deal with issues which most directly affect them; further notes that such citizens are being faced with escalating charges for variable social and other services provided by local authorities; believes that many local authorities are taking measures which restrict choice for the elderly in their selection of nursing or residential care; considers that a lack of local authority resources for nursing home places and a lack of co-ordination between health and social work has led to a 40% increase in bed blocking in the NHS since 1997; recognises that local authorities are systematically withdrawing financial support from facilities used by elderly and disabled citizens and calls upon the Scottish Executive to abandon its agenda of political correctness and replace it with a programme that delivers to Scotland's elderly and disabled citizens affordable services, freedom of choice in care and the dignity and respect they deserve within our society.

The Deputy Minister for Community Care moved amendment S1M-790.2 to motion S1M-790—

Leave out from first “notes” to end and insert—

“welcomes the Scottish Executive's commitment to improving service provision for frail elderly and disabled people in Scotland by creating modern user-focused services; notes the progress of the Carers' Strategy in Scotland, the drive towards joint working between the NHS and local authorities, and the development of national standards for care; further notes the additional funding for health boards announced this week to be used in part to reduce significantly delayed discharge and endorses the Scottish Executive's vision of a Scotland where every older person matters.”

Kay Ullrich moved amendment S1M-790.1 to motion S1M-790—

Leave out from first “that many” to end and insert—

“the failure of successive Conservative and New Labour Governments in Westminster and of the Scottish Executive in Holyrood to provide adequately for elderly and disabled citizens in Scotland; condemns the cuts in grants to Scottish local authorities which have undermined much of the good work being carried out throughout Scotland at a local level; supports greater guidance being given to local authorities to ensure that money intended for the provision of community care and other services for the elderly and disabled is channelled into those areas and not diverted into other sectors of local authority spending; urges real joint working and partnership between central and local agencies, and calls upon the Scottish Executive to implement in full those aspects of the Royal Commission into Long Term Care of the Elderly which fall within the scope of the Parliament.”

After debate, amendment S1M-790.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 44, Abstentions 2). As a result, amendment S1M-790.1 was pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 18, Abstentions 26).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Executive's commitment to improving service provision for frail elderly and disabled people in Scotland by creating modern user-focused services; notes the progress of the Carers' Strategy in Scotland, the drive towards joint working between the NHS and local authorities, and the development of national standards for care; further notes the additional funding for health boards announced this week to be used in part to reduce significantly delayed discharge, and endorses the Scottish Executive's vision of a Scotland where every older person matters.

3. Business Motion: Iain Smith, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S1M-795—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) the following revision to the Business Motion approved on 27 April 2000 —

Thursday 4 May 2000

after “Debate on the Role of Sport in Social Inclusion” insert—

followed by SPCB Motion on the establishment of the Scottish Parliament CPA Branch”

and (b) the following programme of business—

Wednesday 10 May 2000

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Non-Executive Business – Scottish National Party

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business – debate on the subject of S1M-769 John Farquhar Munro: The Black Cuillin

Thursday 11 May 2000

9.30 am Ministerial Statement on Drugs Action Plan

followed by Committee Business – Transport and Environment Committee Report on Telecommunications

followed by Business Motion

2.30 pm Question Time

3.10 pm First Minister's Question Time

followed by Debate on Special Educational Needs

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business – debate on the subject of S1M-737 Mr David Davidson: A90 Upgrade

Wednesday 17 May 2000

9.30 am Time for Reflection

followed by Executive Debate on Glasgow Regeneration

12.00 pm Ministerial Statement

2.30 pm Continuation of the Executive Debate on Glasgow Regeneration

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business

Thursday 18 May 2000

9.30 am Executive Debate on Community Care

12.00 pm Ministerial Statement

followed by Business Motion

2.30 pm Question Time

3.10 pm First Minister's Question Time

3.30 pm Executive Business

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business

The motion was agreed to.

4. Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister and other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5. The Role of Sport in Social Inclusion: The Deputy Minister for Culture and Sport moved S1M-793—That the Parliament endorses the Scottish Executive's vision of achieving equality of opportunity for all; supports its aim of making Scotland a more inclusive society where inequalities between communities are reduced; recognises the important role which sports can play in promoting social inclusion and commends the work of the Scottish Executive, sportscotland and other agencies to widen participation in sport as part of personal and community development.

Fiona McLeod moved amendment S1M-793.1 to motion S1M-793—

Leave out from “commends” to end and insert—

“calls for the establishment of a national network of locally accountable partnerships between local authorities and sports organisations with funding directed towards community sports initiatives.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 29, Against 78, Abstentions 0).

David Mundell moved amendment S1M-793.2 to motion S1M-793—

Leave out from “endorses” to end and insert—

“supports the aim of the Scottish Executive to widen participation in sport by all sectors of society but does not believe this aim will be achieved by its proposed strategy.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 63, Abstentions 27).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 77, Against 0, Abstentions 27).

6. Establishment of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Branch: Des McNulty, on behalf of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, moved S1M-789—That the Parliament notes that the General Assembly of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has approved the Parliament's application to join the CPA; agrees to establish a Scottish Parliament branch of the CPA, and further directs the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to make arrangements for the establishment of the Branch.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7. Approval of Special Grant Reports: Mr Tom McCabe, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S1M-796—That the Parliament agrees that the following reports be approved—

Special Grant Report on Grant in Aid of Expenditure on Rural Public Passenger Transport for 2000-01 (SE/2000/17); and
Special Grant Report on Grant in Aid of Expenditure on South Fife to Edinburgh Rail Services for 2000-01 (SE/2000/34).

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Designation of Lead Committee: Mr Tom McCabe, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S1M-797—That the Parliament agrees the following designation of lead committee—

the Justice and Home Affairs Committee to consider the draft Census (Scotland) Amendment Order 2000.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

9. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 as noted above.

10. Glenrinnes School Closure: The Parliament debated S1M-626 in the name of Mrs Margaret Ewing—That the Parliament recognises the importance of primary schools to our rural communities; asks for clarification of the Scottish Executive's policy on the retention of such schools; is concerned that Glenrinnes school is threatened by closure despite being the only focal point in the village and despite the sound educational arguments proposed by parents and prospective local residents; and considers that the proposals by Moray Council to close this educational facility, which could accrue only £3,500 to Moray Council, should be rejected.

The meeting closed at 5.44 pm.

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