Rothesay complaints could lead to change in education law

A change in education law in Scotland could be on the horizon – thanks, at least in part, to complaints made by the parents of five Rothesay children.

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell spoke of the need to reform Section 70 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, which allows members of the public to make a formal complaint to the Scottish education minister if they feel an education authority has failed to fulfil one of its legal duties, during a recent visit to Bute.

Following Mr Russell’s visit, The Buteman discovered that the Rothesay parents all made formal Section 70 complaints in March 2011, claiming that Argyll and Bute Council had failed in its legal duty to provide a proper education for their children, all Rothesay Academy pupils at the time.

Only one of the complaints was upheld – but only because by the time the process was completed and an adjudication reached, in July 2012, the other four pupils had all left school.

Mr Russell, speaking as constituency MSP for Argyll and Bute, said: “I think there is a general acceptance that this particular piece of legislation has had its day and needs to be replaced with something that produces a faster result and ensures prompt and accountable change in a school or by a local authority if education is not being delivered in the way it should be.”

* Read this story in full in the new issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, February 28.