Sustaining Education in Highland Communities
30th May 2018
The work of Highland Council's Care and Learning Service to provide sustainable quality education in Highland communities was further endorsed today by members of the Council’s Care, Learning and Housing Committee.
Members gave their approval to the reframing of the previous "Management in Schools Programme" to an updated and revised “Sustainable Education in Highlands” programme.
Cllr Andrew Baxter, Chair of the Care, Learning and Housing Committee said: “I am pleased to see that the Sustainable Education in Highlands programme is moving forward with drive and determination. This reflects the Council’s Programme priority to ‘Protect the delivery of education in our schools by implementing an ambitious school’s management programme to support our Head Teachers and staff, securing long term sustainability, especially in our rural communities.”
Bill Alexander, Highland Council’s Director of Care and Learning said: “The Sustainable Education in Highland Communities programme is about providing confidence in the quality of education in local communities across the Highlands. It is about supporting the sustainability of our communities.”
Members approved 5 work streams (and the creation of a programme team) required to deliver the revised programme plan. The work streams are:
• Achieve high quality educational outcomes;
• Management structures and school groupings;
• Support for schools;
• Workforce planning and development; and
• Communication of the programme.
Members noted the progress to date regarding discussions on the management of schools and agreed that engagement with communities will be progressed in Gairloch, Kinlochleven, Inverness High, Thurso and Wick associated school groups.
The creation of local stakeholder groups in other Highland associated school groups, which would link in with Community Planning and other local partnerships, was also endorsed by the Committee.
Following a pre-planning drop-in session at the end of September 2018, The Highland Council has given the public a further 28 days to share their views and comment on the proposal for a new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at the Longman landfill site in Inverness. The public can now visit the Council's website to find out more about the MRF and to share their views on the proposal.
Dr James Vance, Head Teacher at Culloden Academy has been appointed as interim Head of Education Services with The Highland Council's Care and Learning Service. Dr Vance, who starts his new employment in January 2019, will be based at the Council's headquarters on Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.
The Highland Council has submitted a planning application for a low head hydroelectric development at the Torvean Weir on the River Ness at land 430m south west of Highland Rugby Club, on Bught Road, Inverness Using an Archimedes screw the hydroelectric scheme will have a generating capacity of up to 100kW and an average annual renewable energy output of approximately 600,000 kWh per annum. The renewable energy generated will return an income to the Council through the Feed in Tariff mechanism and be connected to the local Archive Centre and leisure centre.
The Highland Council is carrying out the formal review of its Polling Districts and Places. This review is required in terms of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 as all polling districts and polling places should be reviewed at least every four years.
Joint operation identifies poor standards of food safety and staff living accommodation. Highland Council Environmental Health Officers were required to take formal enforcement action regarding poor standards of food safety during a recent multi-agency operation led by Immigration Enforcement.
The Scottish Government's announcement of a consultation on the introduction of a visitor levy ("tourist tax") has been welcomed by The Highland Council. Convener Bill Lobban recently gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, where he emphasised the importance of tourism to the Highlands.
The Highland Council has appointed a new Chief Executive. The successful candidate is Donna Manson, currently Service Director for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders.
Local services throughout Scotland could be plunged into crisis after - UNISON, Unite and the GMB - wrote to COSLA to say they will recommend their members reject their revised pay offer when they consult them in the coming weeks. The revised pay offer, made by COSLA on 6th September 2018, was a 3% increase for all local government workers earning up to £80,000, but the trade unions are angry that this is below inflation and does not improve low pay.
Members have discussed the consultation and proposed response to a review of the structure of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme. The Highland Council Pension Fund is one of eleven constituent funds of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme.
The Highland Council has agreed to plan for a potential budget gap of £66.7 million over the next three years. It was agreed by Members in June to develop plans for a multi-year budget for the next 3 financial years (2019-22) to meet the challenge of a potential funding gap dependent on a wide range of variables.
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