THE FIRST ever parent representative on the city council’s education committee has promised to give parents a voice on the issues affecting their children.
Lindsay Law, chair of Broughton Primary School’s Parent Council, said she was “really excited” to be representing the views of all parents in the Capital, adding that she wanted to be a part of making sure that children in the city were offered the best education possible. The 34-year-old will attend her first education, children and families committee as parent representative in March, and can remain in the role until May 2017.
Lindsay, who has two daughters, Josie, eight, and Lori, six, who are both pupils at Broughton Primary, said: “I’m really excited about the opportunities it presents. I think it’s important that parents have a voice on the education committee because it takes key decisions about our children’s education. I think it’s a really good step forward to have a say in the decisions before they happen, rather than previously when you only saw the impact of the decisions.”
Lindsay, who lives in Leith, was elected by fellow members of the Consultative Committee with Parents (CCwP) at the City Chambers on Tuesday night after being nominated for the position by another parent. She faced a vote against another mother, which Lindsay won by eight votes to three.Lindsay, an IT manager for the Royal Bank of Scotland on Dundas Street, said: “I want to represent all parents in the city who have children in primary, secondary and special schools. That’s quite important to say because although my children are at primary school, I am there to represent all parents.
“I want to make sure that parents have a voice on the education committee. Along with teachers, parents are the closest to the coal face. I will be bringing a voice on behalf of children and parents in the city.”
Lindsay was born in Dundee, attended school in Forfar, and moved to the Capital to study psychology at Edinburgh University. As part of the parent representative role, she will attend education committee meetings and meetings of the education committee sub-group every two months,
Green councillor Gavin Corbett, who is a member of the committee, welcomed the appointment but said having two parent representatives on a committee that already has three religious representatives and two teacher representatives would be a better option.
He said: “It [the role] has to be part of a much bigger transformation in the way parents can contribute to improving schools in Edinburgh.”
Lindsay added: “Ideally, the committee would have a representative from primary and secondary schools because, aside from representing all the views, it’s a big workload for anybody in addition to their role as a parent and employee.
“It will be challenging to find a path that represents the views of all parents because Edinburgh is a diverse city. Some of the things that parents have been particularly interested in are the impact of budgets on schools and future closures.”
The city’s education leader, councillor Paul Godzik, said: “I’m delighted that the Capital coalition is providing a parent representative for the education committee. That’s something we said we would deliver.”
KEY QUESTIONS FOR LINDSAY
Are you in favour of the new Portobello High School being built on Portobello Park?
The Portobello High School debate is one that ignites strong feelings on both sides for and against the park site. I think that parents and children within the catchment have waited long enough for a new, modern school that isn’t falling apart, and both sides should seek a conclusion as soon as possible.
What is your view of the council’s plan to close Castlebrae High School following poor exam results and a falling roll?
Closing a school with falling roles and poor attainment could be seen as an easy response to a deeper underlying failure to deliver the standard of education that all pupils deserve. Ensuring that every pupil of Castlebrae is supported in their goals and aspirations, no matter their destination school if Castlebrae closes, should be a priority.
What is your opinion of Curriculum for Excellence?
Curriculum for Excellence fits in well with Scotland’s cultural legacy, which delivered a broad education that enabled so many important ideas and inventions to be born here. I think its main benefit is teaching children the fundamentals and underpinning components of literacy and numeracy across the breadth of an interesting and diverse curriculum. The main challenge is ensuring standards are still clearly defined and measurable, to ensure that parents can feel assured that schools are supporting children in reaching their maximum potential.