Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Sandy gets grilled on Classroom Assistants sackings

Oor Sandy (Highland Council Convener Sandy Park, that is, if you are not a regular here) got a bit of a grilling this evening at the Nairn River CC meeting. Members wanted to know where the decision to cut all 334 Classroom Assistant posts had come from. To those present it seemed as if it had come completely out of the blue as it hadn’t shown up in any shape or form in the consultations.

In his replies to the constant questions Sandy meandered somewhat, one is never sure with Sandy whether this is a wily tactic to avoid giving a headline making response or simply the normal stream of his consciousness finding expression. He did indicate that it had come up in consultations concerning Education but did admit: “There wasn’t really a big deal of consultation specifically of classroom assistants. "

Again he was asked if it could not have been said at the time that this cut was one of the possible outcomes. He said it was very difficult to consult about specific jobs and indicated that teaching and management were all taking a hit.

Sandy said that with the budget process: “You’ve got to keep going back to the directors and back to the directors and saying look, we’re still no there. Like down south, they’re talking about a four day week for education. OK that was thrown out. Keep putting in and saying the only other place we can go now is here, less staff, less provision. So that’s basically what we’re asking, every director had to come back with more and more because we were asking for more and more cuts.”

That’s it from the horse’s mouth Gurnites, looks like the whip was cracked at the Directors then? Whatever, it is all coming to a head on Thursday and there is ever likelihood that there will be a rather large demonstration at Glenurquhart Road to lobby Sandy and his administration colleagues as they arrive for the cuts meeting, planned to start at 10.30 a.m.

More from the River CC meeting soon, including the latest on the First Steps nursery funding plus houses for Nairn South?


Diogenes said...

Stream of consciousness? Wily tactic?

Or just a Council Convener who hasn't a clue what's going on.....

Graisg said...

Again to be fair, does anyone know how all this will pan out? Slashing this far beyond the bone and into the marrow will have all sorts of consequences and quite a few of them may be ones that were unforseen.
It's new territory indeed and quite scary for communities across the Highlands.
Tommorrow there will be a lot of talk and then it will all be down to pressing the buttons to see how the votes went on the big screen behind Sandy's chair at the top table.

Anonymous said...

Your story contains some worrying revelations:
1. The proposal to cut 334 classroom assistants was raised already in consultations with Education - this means senior Councillors have already discussed this with senior officers and will not have an IMPARTIAL POSITION;
2. “Every Director had to come back with more and more because we were asking for more and more cuts” – The Administration ASKED FOR MORE CUTS and the Directors provided the proposals;
3. “Wasn’t really a big deal of consultation specifically of classroom assistants” – understatement by the Convenor but there seems to be no evidence of PROPER CONSULTATION with staff and public;
This is all worrying, especially as this is from the Council Convenor.
Is this what the people of NAIRN and the HIGHLANDS deserve from it’s elected councillors – NO WAY!

Graisg said...

@ anon@ 8.51

Re your item No1 I took it from what Sandy said that he meant the Consultation in the widest sense on "Education" with the Highland public and perhaps out there on the rolling road show for example, that if I remember rightly finished up in Nairn on a very fine evening last year.

You should get to Community Council meetings Anon, you quite often get a chance to try to nail a Highland Councillor to the floor over a specific bone of contention if you so wish.

Anonymous said...

Dear Graisg,
I attended the (orchestrated) BUDGET CONSULTATION evening in Rosebank Primary School. I still have the papers from the event and there was no talk of SACKING 334 classroom assistants.
I recall some 'meandering' moments during that night!
The ADMINISTRATION was out in force that night and took the opportunity to turn the receipt of the petitions from all those who wanted to SAVE THE POOL into a PUBLICITY EVENT. It was a show of STRENGTH by the YOUNG people of Nairn.
I bet the Administration will not even use the FRONT DOOR at Glenurquhart Road when they go to the meeting tomorrow. Will they receive the PETITIONS? They need to LISTEN and take POSITIVE ACTION.