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First children's committee

Stirling Council launched Scotland's first children's committee this week. Pat Kelly, convener of the council's education committee, said on Tuesday: "It is a bold experiment which focuses on children's needs and their families, rather than on the administration of council departments."

Mr Kelly, former vice-convener of social work on Central Regional Council, added: "Traditionally councils have made a distinction between the education and welfare of children, but we don't believe you can draw a line between the two. As the first Scottish authority to do this, I expect there will be some hiccups on the way."

Pam Viney, local secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland and chair of the joint trades union committee, said Stirling was "hell bent on improving things. We already feel we have a big input into what is happening."

The committee's remit is to draw up a strategy for children's services from birth to leaving school. Issues such as foster care and child protection will be considered alongside curriculum development, pre-five provision and teacher training. The aim is a "one-door"service.

Keith Yates, Stirling's chief executive, said: "The committee will be a policy committee. It won't be dealing with the nitty-gritty." One of its first priorities will be pre-five provision, with the aim of a place for every four-year-old within three years.

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