Dear Parental Involvement Officer
The Scottish Government has today published a consultation paper setting out policy proposals for amendments to the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 (the 2010 Act). The consultation is available at:
This consultation takes forward recommendations made by the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education and aims to clarify the role of Ministers, following the recent ruling by the Court of Session. This consultation only relates to actions which might require changes to the law.
The consultation paper invites comments on six areas:
• The presumption against closure for rural schools;
• Providing financial information on closure proposals;
• Clarifying and expanding Education Scotland’s role;
• The basis for determining school closure proposals;
• Establishing an independent referral mechanism; and
• A five year moratorium on repeating a school closure proposal.
While the Commission’s work related to the delivery of rural education, many of the recommendations it made have implications for the wider application of the 2010 Act, and we want to avoid unnecessarily increasing the differences between how rural and urban schools are treated. Therefore while the proposals set out in Section 1 of the consultation paper, relating to the presumption against closure, only apply to rural schools, the other proposals in this paper would be applicable to both urban and rural schools.
The Government considers it important to provide an opportunity for public consultation on these proposals and we would be grateful if you would be able to let the Parent Council’s in your area know that the consultation is taking place. However, the period for the consultation is necessarily shorter than would be normally provided and will close on 2 September 2013. This is due to the need to move quickly in order to bring further clarity and certainty to the consultation process for school closures. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, already under consideration by the Scottish Parliament, provides us with an early opportunity to make changes to the 2010 Act, and will enable us to bring the changes into force during 2014. If this opportunity is missed then it is unlikely that the necessary changes to the 2010 Act could be made until 2015.
We hope that the consultation does provide an opportunity for the public to engage with these proposals. This consultation will be complemented by other work with stakeholders and also builds on the extensive consultation carried out by the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education.
We are inviting written responses to this consultation paper by 2 September 2013. Alongside the consultation paper on the Government website, there is both an electronic response form and a Word form, if preferred, to help respondents provide their views quickly and easily. If Parent Council’s wish to respond to the consultation, I would encourage them to complete the electronic response form which is available at:
This is the easiest and quickest way to respond to the consultation.
Alternatively responses (with the completed Respondent Information Form) can be sent to:
School Infrastructure Unit, Area 2-A South,Victoria Quay, Edinburgh. EH6 6QQ