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The truths they don't want you to read....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Council funding gap

Schools are being closed to try to bridge the Council's funding gap.

So where would the money come from to keep those schools open?

Job losses?

Well it looks like jobs and schools are to go, and the gap still isn't going to be bridged.

There's only one place the money can come from, and that is the Scottish Government.  Unless you know better.

Some of the redundancies are already agreed, and from those I about it is some of the best and most knowledgeable officers who are going to be first out the door.  Which is often the case when things go bad.

Leaving the Council worse off at every level.


Anonymous said...

You said it - but where are the Scottish Government going to get the money from ?

Anonymous said...

Old sick buildings as mentioned in many reports,are no place for the education of the young. Not to mention the numbers and the spread of the childrens ages in one class, which a teacher has to cater for. Both my children have experienced this system and its not without its downsides.

Job loses, a good clear out is needed, lets see who stays and who goes before making statements about the best being shoved out the door!

Dr Evadne said...

Whilst I don't know how much is required to bridge the gap, I would like to offer up the suggestion of cutting councillors' salaries. £15k x 34 = £510000 plus staff costs which would at least double that figure. I take it that this is paid by the Scottish Gov. who could then plough the savings back into services. Its a £ million not to be sniffed at and it is not as if paying them a salary has improved the quality.

Anonymous said...

Dr Evadne

£24 million over 4 years as I understand it. I have a horrible feeling that this is cumulative eg £5m next year, then a further £4m then...... (It's difficult to tell from the rather obfuscatory central government and council reports and pronouncements.) So if someone does understand them, it would be a kindness to relieve my mind.

Anonymous said...

Split classes are not good for our childrens' education. My children have experienced this and they certainly thrive better when they are in a class of their peers. I agree, these schools need to close, many non-jobs also need to go but the two things should be considered separately as they are very different issues.

Foot-loose said...

Re School closures decision of Council. Local democracy in action. Difficult deliberations. Wrong outcome. CnES staff, good, bad and indifferent being scapegoated. Irrational and perverse comment. Present and Ex pupils seem to be the most knowledgeable, and informed. They should know, after all.
The fight will go all the way to the Scottish Govt. Any proposed change will require additional funding. Where will this come from, everyone asks? We are a bankrupt nation. Really?
ABOUT £100,000,000,000 (yes, one hundred, thousand, million pounds) from TRIDENT expenditure over next 40 years. This is where it should come from. Obscene, don't you think? No argument, really. Straightforward. Problem? Westminster Govt deciding where Scotland's oil money should be squandered, rather than invested in education of future generation of Scots.
This can be rectified next May. Well done SNP group on Council. Nail your principles to the mast. You deserve our 100% support. Village schools are the heart of our rural communities - they are worth fighting for.
Vote SNP next May - to be sure ... to be sure!

Anonymous said...


Ireland is going down the pan, wish to join them? Its not a SNP thing, just common sense to make cuts and closures where there can be. Used to work for the Council, there are many "non jobs" there that could save many a pretty penny or three.

The people in the community form the heart of a community not a building. Grow up and get over yourself!

Anonymous said...

I noticed comments in another entry about the 'closed' meetings that are to take place to discuss the shape of next year's budget.

Out of interest, I did a bit of digging among other Scottish Councils (via their websites) to see how they had tackled the whole process. Illuminating in terms both of how they engaged with their communities (fairly extensively), WHEN they engaged with their communities (much, much earlier, and the ranges of options for every service which came out of the whole process.

If you have 30 minutes, go look at the budget consultation on Highland Council's website. (Main page under 'consultation.)Just one example and by no means perfect.

It will still make you weep for that which we are faced with in this Council.

thenamesGerard said...


You are right, a building is not the heart of a community, but a school, like a church, or a shop or a village hall, is not meerly a building it is much more significant than that.

It is a key institution, a centre of social cohesion and community focus. It is a provider of employment, for the teacher, the cook, the administrator, the cleaner, those contracted to maintain it - and is especially important in areas where jobs (not requiring extensive travel)can be scarce.

It is said that when a community has lost its school, its shop and its church, it ceases to be a community. It seems odd that a council which funds community coordinators, community development plans, and invests in connecting communities, has failed to acknowledge the importance of key community infrastructure.

Closing schools will undoubtably save money in the short term and while this may be significant in the next year or so. Perhaps the loss of the schools and their highly localised benefits will have a more profound impact in the western isles in the longer term.

Anonymous said...

Touching, but, small communities, like Tolsta Chaolais for example, seem to have a significant community spirit going on. Bonfire night, a case in point. It was a lovely experience and dare I say, much better than a neighbouring community with a school, hall, Church and all.

Anonymous said...

Re - Foot-loose

It might be more appropriate to have you renamed 'Screw-loose'!!

The local SNP are facing at least two ways on the school closure issue. On the one hand, they are banging their drums and making loud, meaningless noises designed to get the local populace on their side.

On the other hand, they have an MSP who is not squeezing the Education Minister's cojones with any degree of firmness to make sure he is coughing up some extra cash to keep these establishments going.

They can't have it both ways - for all that it appears to be their normal pattern of behaviour!

Anonymous said...

10.30 Maybe the time has come for new 'communities' to be forged. On the mainland many of our villages don't even have enough people for a street.

thenamesGerard said...

I take back all I wrote, Tolsta Chaolas had a cracking bonfire night and they don't have a school;-).

It is easy to blame the Government. However the reality in this case is that CnES have failed to invest in their school buildings over an extended period of time and this is (only) one factor in the schools being so hard to maintain. This is a CnES responsibility, it is the CnES chosen course of action.

If you want a look at school regeneration in the face of falling roles, have a look at what Lochaber High School has achieved in rebuilding their school, while saving a huge amount (I am told many millions) over building a new PFI school. They have also kept the bigger class rooms while improving facilities. All this was achieved while keeping the school open and working within a campus with the bulk of buildings dating from 1960. LHS demonstrate how moderniation and economy can be achieved in difficult circumstances, if everyone is open minded and works together. by the way for Highland Region's School Closures programme follow this link,

I stand by my view that the long term loss resulting from school closures will be to our community viability, which was already fragile before this programme of closures was initiated.

You do not need to look further than these islands to find the insitutions which are to blame.

thenamesGerard said...

So tolsta Chaolas had a cracking bonfire, excellent news. I take back all I wrote ;¬)

Correct me if I am wrong. the Government gives the council a budget, within which there is a schools budget. Over an extended period of time the council fails to maintain its schools to an appropriate level, CHOOSING to use the funds for (in its view) more important projects.

The cost of school maintenance rise and roles fall (perhaps even because the more importnat projects did not have the anticipated outcomes). So the council, still in control of its budget, has to look at how it can provide education within its means. It has painted itself into a corner and can only use funding for new schools through PFI to do so. So old schools must close and the reason for this is really because of long term missmanagement of the building stock. Falling roles is an excuse that can be used in justification by our hard working councillors.

Somehow this is the fault of the government. Nope, it doesn't add up.

One council is as bad as the other, hence the example of Lochaber High School. Role fell from circa 1400 in the mid 1980s to 862 in 2010. The school, many of its buildings being 50 years old, has been refurbished and modernised and has done so for considerably less costthan the PFI alternative of a new school. It has retained the larger classrooms in contrast to the alternative PFI cupboard classrooms.

This was achieved because the school managment and the council worked together to get great value for money. Another example of Highland's mismanagement can be seen in its extensive list of school closures (which remember, are unavoidable in rural areas where roles are falling), see the attached link

Food for though CnES?

Anonymous said...

Uh...I think that link might take you to the schools closed for extreme weather, burst pipes etc.....

Anonymous said...

PMSL. So it does.

Unless, of course, Highland are taking an even more radical approach to school rationalisation.

......After 4pm closures planned for the next day are displayed......

thenamesGerard said...

Blast! That combined with the double post adds up to a double barrel shot in the foot!