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Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid)

Meeting date: Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Agenda: Points of Order, Portfolio Question Time, Chronic Pain Services, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Community Resilience (Mental Health Support), Correction


Points of Order

Good afternoon. The first item of business is portfolio questions.

We have a point of order from Stephen Kerr.

Stephen Kerr (Central Scotland) (Con)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I seek guidance from you in relation to a matter of urgency that is felt by my constituents and others. On 24 November, Scotland’s teachers will hold their first national strike since the 1980s. I know that teachers are dedicated professionals and do not want to strike; they want to be in school doing what they are qualified to do—teaching their pupils. However, they are sick to the bone of the Scottish Government failing the education of our children and ignoring the health and wellbeing of teachers.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills has not come to the chamber of her own volition to make a statement and answer questions from members on what is being done to avert the strike. Teachers are anxious about leaving their posts, parents do not know what is happening and pupils will have their education disrupted again.

I have a great deal of correspondence that shows that people are mystified as to why the matter is not top of the agenda in the Scottish Parliament. Yesterday, we spent two and half hours debating the future of Gaelic and Scots, and tomorrow we will have yet another debate about Brexit, rehashing the same tired old arguments of the past. As important as those matters are, I and many people who are tuned into the proceedings of Parliament are mystified as to why we are not discussing the fact that, next week, Scotland’s schools will close and pupils will miss lessons due to what has, up until now, been a failed pay negotiation conducted by the Scottish Government.

Presiding Officer, you will know that I have sought to raise the matter through all the normal channels that are open to me as a member of the Scottish Parliament. Will you please give me some guidance on what it takes to get a Scottish education minister to come to the chamber and answer members’ questions about a matter that is as urgent and important as an impending teachers’ strike?

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I thank Mr Kerr for his contribution. He will be aware that that is not a matter for the Presiding Officer. In relation to requesting a statement, it is open to the member to approach the locus where the decision is made, which, as the member will be aware, is the Parliamentary Bureau. Therefore, the member may wish to take the issue up with his party business manager in order that it could be pursued in the right place, which is the bureau.

I have another point of order.

Clare Adamson (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. In Mr Kerr’s point of order, he seemed to indicate that tomorrow’s debate on Brexit is a Government debate. I want to inform you and members in the chamber that it is a Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee debate, giving the committee an opportunity to air its concerns about Brexit from its most recent report.

I thank Clare Adamson for that. It will be noted on the record that tomorrow’s debate is—in case there was any dubiety—a committee debate.