Coun­cil boss is guest speaker

Ayrshire Post - - Around Ayr -

Dou­glas Hutchi­son, South Ayr­shire’s De­pute Chief Ex­ec­u­tive and Di­rec­tor – Peo­ple, and him­self a for­mer teacher and ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­o­gist, vis­ited Ayr Ro­tary club to speak about the Fu­ture of Ed­u­ca­tion in Scot­land and how it af­fects South Ayr­shire.

He de­scribed some of the changes which have taken place in the Scottish Ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem over the past ten to fif­teen years as a se­ries of“six mis­takes” and at­trib­uted the worst of these to ide­ol­ogy win­ning out over ev­i­dence.

To­gether these have re­sulted in a mea­sur­able de­cline in lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy, and have pro­duced, among other things, a short­age of teach­ers and ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­o­gists.

Ac­cord­ing to Dou­glas, mis­placed ed­u­ca­tional de­ci­sions have of­ten been made for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons to the detri­ment of children’s learn­ing, espe­cially to those liv­ing in de­prived ar­eas.

He cited the con­sis­tent year- on- year im­prove­ment in na­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions gained by pupils in South Ayr­shire schools, along with the on­go­ing suc­cess of the Coun­cil’s schools re­build­ing pro­gramme.

Clos­ing the at­tain­ment gap be­tween pupils in the worst- and best- off eco­nomic sec­tors is a key Gov­ern­ment tar­get in which, Dou­glas re­ported, South Ayr­shire was mak­ing solid progress.

Thank­ing Dou­glas, for­mer head teacher Hugh Mil­lar ap­plauded the won­der­ful new work­ing spa­ces the re­build­ing pro­gramme had cre­ated, but shared Dou­glas’s con­cern that the gov­ern­ment sys­tem for de­pri­va­tion sup­port passes over South Ayr­shire, fail­ing to ad­dress the se­ri­ous need that char­ac­terises some lo­cal­i­ties in the coun­cil’s area.

A plan to build a new cy­cling un­der­pass will go ahead af­ter a string of false starts.

Coun­cil bosses have fi­nally agreed to the project at Doon­foot in Ayr.

It fol­lows their de­ci­sion to hand back £ 500,000 of ex­ter­nal fund­ing which would have paid for the scheme.

Now they will be forced to reap­ply for the cash af­ter months of in­ter­nal wran­gling.

In­sid­ers claim “po­lit­i­cal bick­er­ing” al­most put a spoke in the wheel of the Dunure Road pro­posal.

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