Little to bank on in report

10th January 2003 at 00:00
Once again the Scottish School Board Association feels compelled to speak about the Scottish Parent Teacher Council and, as usual, they get their facts wrong. Perhaps you will allow me to put the record straight about our involvement in the Banks inquiry following the letter from Alan Smith, the SSBA president (TESS, December 13).

The only input we had to this whole, lengthy process was a one-hour meeting on June 5 last year between Philip Banks, Eleanor Coner (the then SPTC convener) and myself. To further put the record straight, Jo Beaumont (formerly of the SSBA) was not a director of the SPTC then and did not become so until our annual meeting in November; so she had no chance to participate in the June meeting. Indeed, Jo did not attend her first director's meeting until December 7, the day after her letter appeared in The TESS. It is therefore safe to assume that her letter was not prompted by her SPTC experience.

The second point worth making is that, despite the Executive's social inclusion agenda, the Banks report is mainly available on the internet. However, that is probably just as well as the printed version is shoddy.

Although the document was published on December 5, it has July 2002 printed boldly on the front cover.

Even worse, the index does not match the page numbering of the document. For example, the index states that the "Way Forward" section is on page 32 not page 27 where it is actually situated. What trust can anyone have in a document which has had five pages edited out at an obviously late stage?

The presentation of the Banks report is in stark contrast to published league tables and offers an interesting insight into the Executive's priorities.

Finally, you report Cathy Jamieson, the Education Minister, as saying that she would be setting up "a wide, consultative and inclusive review" following the Banks report.

However, according to Alan Smith's letter, she will be wasting time, money and effort as he says "agreement has already been reached between the education directors and the SSBA on how to increase and widen parental involvement".

That's the rest of us telt, then.

Judith Gillespie Development manager Scottish Parent Teacher Council

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