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McArthur: Education Secretary must answer questions on setting of school week

December 17, 2015 12:10 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur MSP has today called for the Cabinet Secretary of Education to appear before the Education Committee to explain the lack of consultation over government plans to set the length of the school week.

In a letter to the Convenor of the Committee earlier this week, the COSLA Education, Children and Young People spokesperson, Cllr Stephanie Primrose, raises serious concerns on comments made by the Cabinet Secretary at the meeting of the committee on 7 December 2015.

At the meeting the Cabinet Secretary claimed COSLA was aware of an amendment put forward by the Scottish Government to the Education (Scotland) Bill which would allow central government to set the length of the school week.

In his letter Mr McArthur writes: "At the meeting I, along with other committee members, highlighted COSLA's concerns about the lack of consultation on an amendment to set the length of the school week.

"The Cabinet Secretary responded by saying "COSLA knew it was under consideration."

"I think it is clear that, at the very least, the Cabinet Secretary misrepresented the views of COSLA. That is more than unfortunate and I believe it would only be right to request that she appear before committee again ahead of Stage 3 to explain her comments.

"The Scottish Government's failure to consult on major parts of this Bill has created serious difficulties for the Committee in carrying out our scrutiny responsibilities. In this instance, I find it hard to understand how MSPs can be expected to vote on a Bill when the Minister responsible has been economical with the truth."