Schools Budgets To Be Protected In Highland Budget Proposals
14th February 2017
In another challenging financial year, the Highland Council Administration has pledged to protect education services in the 2017/18 budget.
The Highland Council will consider next year's budget at its meeting on Thursday 16 February. School budgets, which fund teachers and school support services, have been protected by the Council Administration, and there are no proposals to make savings in these areas.
Having met the Scottish Government's teacher numbers target in 2016, Highland Council remains committed to maintaining teacher ratios in Primary and Secondary Schools. The Council has also developed a programme to enhance the support to Headteachers and to sustain rural education, which will ensure that all schools can be more effective, as well as more cost effective in future years.
In addition, while Additional Support Needs (ASN) budgets have been reduced by Councils across much of the country, Highland Council's Administration intends another successive year where there will be no cuts to ASN in this authority.
Councillor Drew Millar, Chair of the Education, Children & Adult Services Committee said: "This Administration has pledged to protect education, and I am delighted that we are delivering on this pledge. We will maintain funding for teachers and ASN services.
"This has not been easy, given that Education and Additional Support Needs make up over a third of the total spend of the Council. However, elected members understand how important these services are to our children and to our communities. By investing in education, we are investing in our young people and in the future of the Highlands. We have therefore been determined to protect these services.
"I am also especially pleased that we have committed to withdrawing one budget measure agreed by Council in December 2014. Instead of the planned 10p increase in school meal prices for 2017/18, we are proposing a price freeze this year. We are proud of the quality of our school meals, and we want to encourage full take up, and we believe that this decision needs to be reversed."
Cllr Bill Fernie, The council budget leader said "As both Chairman of Resources committee and as a former chairman covering Education I have tried in these very difficult times with cuts to our core budget to protect this important aspect of our spending plans. The Independent group who make up the present Administration of the council were in no doubt about our priorities and children were one of them. Children, Adult Service and Roads were our top three when we took over and we have tried hard to maintain that position even in the face of significant cuts in our funding from Scottish Goverment.
The Highland Council has elected Councillor Margaret Davidson as Council Leader at its meeting today, 18 May 2017. Councillor Alasdair Christie was elected Depute Leader and Councillor Bill Lobban was elected Convener of the Council.
MFR Cash for Kids Charity Car Boot Sale is the latest recruit to be signed up by Highland Council Trading Standards to join the Real Deal scheme. The scheme was launched six years ago in a bid to stamp out the illegal trade in fake goods at markets and to ensure businesses are fully compliant with the relevant laws.
From 21 May 2017, people aged 60 and over who currently benefit from Highland Council’s rail concessionary travel scheme are being advised that half fare rail concessions for the majority of entitled Highland residents will cease. Free travel remains available by bus, and card holders are advised to keep their entitlement cards which can still be used on bus routes throughout Scotland.
Councillor Margaret Davidson announced today that an agreement had been reached to form anew administration to run Highland council for the next five years. Councillor Davidson will once again be the leader of the council and she said,"We are pleased to announce that a coalition of Independents, Liberal Democrats and Labour Councillors have formed an Administration to take Highland Council forward for the next five years.
The transformation of future learning in Highland schools was discussed by around 100 head teachers at a Science and Technology Conference last week in Inverness. Key speakers from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Wood Foundation, Education Scotland, FIRST Scandinavia and the Science and Skills Academy addressed the conference on the importance of STEM experiences and qualifications for young people in the Highlands.
The official process to elect Members of Parliament to represent the three UK Highland constituencies has begun. Returning Officer, Steve Barron, Chief Executive of The Highland Council, was yesterday (Thursday 4 May) hand delivered three writs, instructing him to conduct an election for the Highland UK Parliamentary constituencies.
The results for the 2017 Highland Council elections have been declared. They are as follows: Independent 28 Scottish Conservative and Unionist 10 Scottish Green Party 1 Scottish Labour Party 3 Scottish Liberal Democrats 10 Scottish National Party (SNP) 22 Total elected 74 The first meeting of the new Council will be held on Thursday 18 May when the office-bearers will be confirmed.
People in the Highlands are being invited to drop in to new Digital Café sessions which could save them significant amounts of money. The Highland Council in partnership with other Highland Social Landlords and the social enterprise company Libertie are hosting a series of mobile Digital Café events during May 2017.
Mears signs new cost savings deal on PPP Highland schools project. Mears has signed a new deal with the Highland Council which will see millions of pounds saved over the lifetime of the Private Public Partnership (PPP) Highland Schools Project.
The Highland Council and partners are advising motorists of temporary road closures and speed restrictions which will be in place next weekend (22 - 23 April) during the Etape Loch Ness cycling event. The restrictions and prohibitions which are being put in place are for participants' safety and to allow the Etape to take place on public roads.
[Printer Friendly Version]