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Parents unite on boards

Scotland's two parent representative bodies have settled some of their differences and joined forces to attempt to overturn a clause in the current Education Bill.

The Scottish School Board Association and the Scottish Parent Teacher Council want the Government to drop its plan to allow all councillors within a school's catchment area to have speaking rights at school board meetings.

David Hutchison, the SSBA's president, said: "We have had members telling us that it could mean as many as eight or 10 councillors attending board meetings. This would completely swamp the ordinary board members."

Mr Hutchison added: "Even only two deciding to carry on a political fight would be enough" Currently only councillors who serve the ward the school is in can speak. Ministers plan to change this to councillors of "any electoral ward which falls wholly or partly within the catchment area".

In a joint letter to Raymond Robertson, the Education Minister, the parent bodies state: "The present position allows councillors to attend meetings as observers, to make representations on behalf of their constituents, and to be invited to speak by the chairman of the board. The board then remains firmly in control and can ensure that councillors' contributions do not dominate business."

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