Liberal Democrats stress the need for education focus post-lockdown

Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate, Dr Jacci Stoyle, has stressed the need for the education of thousands of local young people to be front and centre as the district moves slowly out of lockdown. In a wide ranging letter to Education Convenor, Councillor Jim Clocherty, Jacci raises a number of issues about education and welfare plans for local pupils.

The issues raised include: effective use of Pupil Equity Funds to support deprived pupils, delivery of educational catch-up lessons, additional resources going forward and pupil mental health support.

Jacci also criticized Education Secretary, John Swinney, for a misplaced focus on preparing for part-time schooling/online learning and a drastic U-turn only days before the end of the school term.

Commenting Dr Stoyle said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic is much more than a public health crisis; it has deep economic and social impacts too.”

“By mid-August most local pupils will not have attended school for 5 months. While local schools and teachers have worked to develop innovative online lessons it is simply not a substitute for direct classroom teaching.”

“After many weeks of pushing the blended learning/part-time school plans John Swinney’s 11th hour U-turn in the final week of the school term was unhelpful in planning effectively for next session.”

“Inverclyde Council has invested vast time and financial resources in planning for expansive home learning programmes. Is John Swinney going to reimburse cash strapped Councils like Inverclyde for these misspent resources.”

“I have asked Inverclyde Council what plans they have to tackle the poverty related attainment gap which is likely to have widened during lockdown and how they plan to invest pupil equity resources going forward.”

“I am also keen on seeing plans for catch-up lessons and integrated health and social care plans for tackling mental health and pupil welfare issues.”

“In recent months we have seen unprecedented investment in health and building of new hospitals in a number of days. We have also witnessed massive economic support via the furlough wage-support scheme. Going forward we need a step change in funding for education, as a nation we must guard against a ‘lost generation’ of young people.”