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McArthur backs Education Committee moves on rural school closures

January 21, 2014 4:15 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

During its consideration of the Children and Young People's Bill thisLiam McArthurLiam McArthur morning, the parliament's Education & Culture Committee voted on a series of amendments to the 2010 Act on rural school closures. Commenting on the changes adopted by the Committee, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:

"I know from personal experience the effect that even the threat of a school closure can have on pupils, parents, staff and the wider community affected. It is a highly emotive issue and one where we must ensure that decisions are taken on educational merit, based on clear, transparent and agreed criteria.

"I welcome the steps taken by the Committee today, which will increase support for Councils in preparing information and improve the process of consultation with those affected. There will also be a limit on how quickly any proposal to close a school can be reintroduced.

"It has been clear for some time that changes were needed to the 2010 Act. The Children and Young People's Bill has provided an opportunity to take those steps. More needs to be done before the Bill is finally adopted next month, but substantial progress was made today.

"Even so, learning the lessons from last time is important. This will remain a sensitive and emotive process, and Ministers must take care not to raise false expectations about what this revised legislation will and will not do."