Wishart blasted for‘scare tac­tics’ at school

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Ross Gar­diner

Pete Wishart MP has been ac­cused of“scare­mon­ger­ing”on the fu­ture of Pit­lochry High School.

The rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Perth and Perthshire North wrote to ed­u­ca­tion boss Cllr Caro­line Shiers to ask her to make clear the po­si­tion of the school in the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s school es­tates re­view’s sec­ond phase.

He said he wants as­sur­ances that Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil will not close the school.

Mr Wishart said:“I have writ­ten to Cllr Shiers to ask her to clar­ify the coun­cil’s po­si­tion on the fu­ture of Pit­lochry High School. We have seen the dam­age that can be done to the fu­ture of a school when the threat of clo­sure hangs over it.

“It is un­der­stand­able that par­ents are de­mand­ing clar­ity on the fu­ture of the school and it is vi­tal that Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil are clear with par­ents on the time­line for its fu­ture.”

In the let­ter, he added:“Given the na­ture of these pro­pos­als, are you in a po­si­tion to ei­ther rule out clo­sure for Pit­lochry High School or at least give par­ents an idea of how long this threat of clo­sure may con­tinue to be in place?”

Con­ser­va­tive Con­venor of Life­long Learn­ing, Cllr Caro­line Shiers, de­scribed the claim as “scare­mon­ger­ing and deeply ir­re­spon­si­ble.”

Cllr Shiers said:“De­spite the cuts in coun­cil fund­ing handed down by the SNP at Holy­rood, I am com­mit­ted to see­ing ed­u­ca­tion pro­vi­sion in High­land Perthshire en­hanced, not di­min­ished.

“The school estate re­view process, in­sti­gated by the pre­vi­ous SNP ad­min­is­tra­tion, which I have per­son­ally at­tended each stage of, un­like SNP coun­cil­lors, has al­lowed the coun­cil to en­gage with com­mu­ni­ties across Perth and Kin­ross.

“Per­haps SNP coun­cil­lors might like to ask Mr Wishart why he no longer sup­ports the re­view they set up to en­sure our school estate is fit for the fu­ture - are they now con­tent to al­low our school estate to crum­ble through lack of in­vest­ment, be­cause we cer­tainly are not.

“I will be con­tact­ing par­ent coun­cils of schools in phase two within the next cou­ple of weeks, to give them an up­date on the process and to en­sure they are kept fully in­formed.

“Scare­mon­ger­ing about the fu­ture of Pit­lochry High School for party po­lit­i­cal pur­poses in the heat of a by-elec­tion, is deeply ir­re­spon­si­ble, but sadly all too typ­i­cal of the ap­proach that has been taken by Mr Wishart and his SNP col­leagues on the coun­cil.

“We have seen Mr Wishart make all kind of sim­i­lar claims in re­la­tion to other schools as part of the estate re­view but I be­lieve that what we are de­liv­er­ing will be lo­cal schools which re­ally do of­fer chil­dren and young peo­ple the very best op­por­tu­ni­ties across Perth and Kin­ross.”

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