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Opposition Hits Back Over Administration's "Slopey-Shouldered" Visiting Specialist Response

>> 11 July 2017

Commenting on Sunday’s press release from Councillors Owen and Gifford regarding the role of visiting teaching specialists in Aberdeenshire's schools, Aberdeenshire Council's Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Richard Thomson, said:

"This is yet another slopey-shouldered response from a Council Administration which increasingly gives the impression of being in office but not in power.

"Despite the importance of this issue, the basic questions we have been asking since day one are only now beginning to see some clarity. We still need to know how will the specialist skills of these teachers continue to be used to the full; and if specialist teachers are no longer going to be visiting smaller schools with fewer core staff, then how will head teachers in those schools continue to be able to access support to deliver the fullest curriculum?

“There has not been mis-information from the opposition, but there has been a total lack of transparent or useful information from the administration.

"Parents, pupils and the teachers themselves have needed reassurances – instead of passing the buck to council officers, the administration should have been urgently clarifying its own position."

Cllr Alison Evison, added,

“We have been giving proper scrutiny over the last two months to an issue that was presented to us by concerned members of our school communities. Only now are we beginning to receive the answers which they have been seeking.

“We welcome indications that visiting specialists will be the subject of a paper to committee where the issue will be able to be discussed in full.

“We are also pleased to hear today that changes to the visiting specialist service will now be implemented slowly and over a five year period, thus minimising the effects n individuals. We have received reassurance that headteachers are expected to continue to deploy specialist teachers to meet local needs.

“We have shown that we are carrying out our work in opposition effectively and getting results. However we continue to seek clarity on where these teachers will come from in future to augment the curriculum in small rural schools. We are discussing this matter with senior officers of the council.”

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