Bute parents set to unite in ‘Service Choices’ concern

Argyll and Bute Council's Lochgilphead HQ.

Argyll and Bute Council's Lochgilphead HQ.

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Members of all three Bute parent councils look set to unite to express major concerns at Argyll and Bute Council’s controversial ‘Service Choices’ consultation - and in particular the effect mooted savings options could have on education.

A public meeting this week, organised by the Rothesay Joint Campus parent council, heard that body’s serious misgivings about the consultation process - and the predicted impact on local children of the options contained in the consultation, should they be implemented.

At the same meeting, members of North Bute Primary’s parent council said they would be willing to support those views in order to give the island’s parents a voice.

The third local parent council, at St Andrew’s Primary, wasn’t represented at the meeting - due to a clash with their school’s Nativity play - but its members are to be invited to be part of the process.

The groups are anxious at the implications of the 43 education savings options contained in the ‘Service Choices’ consultation - which itself was the subject of severe criticism in an Audit Scotland report published this week.

Jane Catlin from the Rothesay Joint Campus parent council said: “I certainly find it [the consultation] a very difficult and quite impenetrable process.

“There’s some debate over whether these options are choices, proposals or cuts, but let’s be realistic about this - it’s going to be about cutting budgets, and it’s going to have a big impact on the services that children get and parents get.

“This is not about directing people away from the consultation process - it’s about getting people to think about how they can engage with the process in whatever form that takes.”

A public meeting is to be organised for January and elected councillors and council officials will be invited to attend - more detail on that as soon as we get it.