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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Monday, January 29, 2018

Education and Skills Committee 29 January 2018

Agenda: Decisions on Taking Business in Private, Education Reforms


Decisions on Taking Business in Private

The Convener (James Dornan)

First of all, I apologise for starting late. We got caught up in another meeting.

I welcome everyone to the fourth meeting in 2018 of the Education and Skills Committee. I am pleased to convene a meeting of the committee in Peterhead this afternoon, and to welcome all members, witnesses and observers. I am very grateful that so many people have made the effort to get out on a cold afternoon to come here. It is a great turnout.

I shall provide some background. The committee is responsible for scrutinising the Scottish Government’s education policy. In recent months, we have been taking evidence on the education reforms on which the Government is consulting. The result of the committee’s work will be recommendations to the Government on the reforms, including how they should be changed and improved.

Today, we will hear from education authorities that sit on the northern alliance, which is a regional improvement collaborative that covers a huge area from Argyll to Shetland. The Government wants other areas of Scotland to follow the north’s lead and to have more collaboratives of education authorities.

We know that teacher recruitment is a big issue in the region—it was one of the reasons why we were keen to come to the north-east today. After the meeting, we will have a more informal discussion on all the reforms. That will start at about 6 pm.

We have received apologies from a number of members, some of whom took part in other parts of our programme for today, including Ruth Maguire and Gillian Martin, who were with us earlier for local visits on the impact of Brexit and school reforms. We have also received apologies from Liz Smith, Tavish Scott, George Adam, Oliver Mundell and Mary Fee. Helen Shanks, from Aberdeen City Council, was due to appear as a witness: unfortunately, she is unwell.

Agenda item 1 is consideration of whether to take in private two items at our next meeting next Wednesday back in Edinburgh. Are members content to take in private our consideration of our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on education reforms at that meeting?

Members indicated agreement.

The Convener

Are members also content to take in private consideration of our work programme at our next meeting?

Members indicated agreement.