All posts by Angus MacRury

Depute Headteacher, Dunbar Primary School.

Commission on Rural Education – Call for Evidence

The Commission on Rural Education would like to invite you to respond to its Call for Evidence. 

The Commission is tasked with examining how the delivery of rural education can maximise the attainment and life chances of young people in rural areas, and the link between rural education and rural communities.

The Commission will also review the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and its application and make recommendations on the delivery of all aspects of education in rural areas.


Scottish local authorities are responsible for managing and delivering education services in their communities in line with national strategy set out by the Scottish Government.  This has to be achieved in line with councils’ duties on the delivery of Best Value and in conjunction with delivery of other council functions, including the management of the councils’ school estates.

The Schools (Consultation) Act 2010 came into force in spring 2010.  It introduced extensive changes to the procedures that local authorities follow when consulting on whether to close a school.  Included in the legislation are specific considerations for the treatment of proposals for rural school closures.

Since the end of 2010, concern has arisen regarding the operation of the Act.  Subsequently in June, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning wrote to all Scottish local authorities seeking an agreement to suspend rural school closure proposals, to allow an opportunity for consideration of whether changes are required to the legislation itself and its application.


The purpose of the Commission on Rural Education is to get to the heart of competing priorities that face national and local government in the delivery of education in rural Scotland.

The Commission on Rural Education is established jointly by the Scottish Government and COSLA.  Our remit is to

    • To review the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and its application;
    • To examine how the delivery of rural education can maximize attainment and outcomes to give pupils the best life chances, and to examine, where appropriate, how this can be applied more widely;
    • To make recommendations on how to reflect best practice on the delivery of all aspects of education in rural areas (pre-school through to higher & further education);
    • To examine the links between rural education and the preservation, support and development of rural communities and to make recommendations on how these links might be strengthened if necessary; and
    • To examine and make recommendations on funding issues surrounding rural education.

Further information on our work can be found at:

The Call for Evidence

This Call for Evidence is intended to gather information to allow the Commission an opportunity to balance the interests of children, parents and communities and the overarching responsibilities of local government and Ministers.

The Commission would like to hear from individuals and organisations across Scotland who have views on the delivery of rural education.  The responses to this Call for Evidence will form an important part of the Commission’s considerations and inform its final recommendations.

Steps to completing the Call for Evidence questionnaire

  1. Please consider the attached questions.  These are not intended to be an exhaustive list of the issues and you are encouraged to provide comments on any other issue you feel may be relevant at the final question.

<<Call for Evidence questions#2.pdf>>   

2.   It would help us greatly if you could respond using the online form.  This is available at  This should be a quick and easy way to provide responses and comments on our questions, and will allow your responses to be analysed easily and efficiently. 

3.      However, please note that the online form must be completed in one session; does not offer a ‘Back’ button, and there is a maximum answer length for each question of 4000 characters – about one A4 page of text.  You can cut and paste text on to it. 

4.   If the online form is unsuitable for you, or you cannot access it, an alternative Word version of the form is available on request from: or by telephoning 0131 244 0877. 

5.      Or you may wish to write to us, in which case we would be grateful if you could indicate clearly which section or question you are referring to. 

Please ensure that we receive your response by 12 January 2012, when the Call for Evidence will close. 

Yours faithfully,


David Sutherland
Chair, Commission on Rural Education
Commission on Rural Education Secretariat
Area 2A South
Victoria Quay
EH6 6QQ 

Further information

In considering the Call for Evidence you may find it helpful to have further information on the following topics:


I think everyone will agree that the Halloween party on Thursday night was an outstanding success.  It was great to see so many pupils there enjoying all the fun & games and spooky snacks.  There were some fantastic costumes and amazing pumpkins.  As always, parents and staff worked hard to make the night such a success and nearly £200 was raised towards school funds.  A special note of thanks to Lorna Forsyth and George Campbell, whose skills made the night!


New Inspections and Parents

Find below a copy of the  DRAFT Minutes of  the East Lothian Association of Parent Council Member Meeting which was held on 7 September, 2011.    together with a copy of the Agenda for the next Association meeting which is due to be held on Wednesday 2 November, at Preston Lodge High School, from 7pm/9pm.

 Minutes_Draft_7_Sept_2011 (2)

Agenda 2 Nov 2011


Also attached is a copy of the Shared Services Project Briefing, for your information, which was an action point from the meeting on 7t September, 2011.

 Project Briefing 2 (31.8.11)

Phil Dennings, District Inspector, Education Scotland,  will be delivering a  full presentation on The Role of the Parent Council in the New School Inspection Process and there will  also be the opportunity for questions.    There have been major changes in the way in which a school will now be inspected and,  as usual, two members of your Parent Council are invited to attend the meeting.    

It is strongly recommended that the Parent Council is represented at this meeting given the importance of the role of parents in the inspection process.

New National Qualifications – Support and information for Parents

New National Qualifications – Support and information for Parents

Update from the Scottish Qualifications Authority

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has a number of resources for parents to help you understand the changes to Scotland’s qualifications.

The parent and carer section of our websiteexplains how and why Scottish qualifications are changing and what the changes mean for young people and their families.

Our new video introduction explains the changes and outlines the information available on our website.

Our Mythbustervideos answer common questions about the new qualifications to help parents understand what’s happening – these new clips are now available.  We also have videos explaining our development process and the groups working with us to develop the new qualifications.

We have a leafletespecially for parents and carers which can also be downloaded from our website or is available from schools.

We’re publishing draft documents on our website between now and April 2012 which show each stage of our thinking and plans.  We are looking for feedbackat each stage of the development.

On 31 August 2011 we published Unit Specifications for National 4 and National 5, Course Rationales and Summaries for Access 2, Course Rationales and Summaries for Access 3, and Course Specifications for Higher.

The documents are quite technical and are aimed at teachers and education specialists but are also available for parents to comment on.

Comments on these documents can be made by 31 October 2011 using our website’s Have Your Say facility.  A summary of feedback we have received so far is also on our website.

Keep visiting all you need to know about the new qualifications.  Sign up for MyAlertsto receive e-mail updates.

Halloween Party

West Barns Primary School

Parent Council

Halloween Party – Thursday 27th October 6-7.30pm

Dear Parents and Carers of West Barns Primary

The Parent Council are hoping to hold a Halloween Party on the above date in the school.  There will be lots of spooky fun & games for pupils from Primary 1 to 7 and further details will be sent home via a flyer in school bags.

We are looking for volunteers to help either in the lead up or on the night i.e. setting up the hall, making spooky snacks or playing some Halloween themed games.  If you have any spooky or scary skills please don’t be shy – you will be in much demand!  Also, you may have a skill that you may not realise we are looking for… Are you a budding DJ / Compare?  If you are able to help in any way please complete the slip below and hand it to any Parent Council member, or Lorna at the office by the 7th October.  We will then be organising ourselves in terms of who is doing what!

Your support and generosity is important as all monies raised go directly to the benefit of our children.

Thanks you for your help.

West Barns Parent Council


School Handbook Consultation

 The Scottish Government are now looking at how they can best reflect the findings in legislation and improve the information that parents receive from schools. More information to Parent Councils, Local Authorities and schools will follow as this work progresses.

and the full report on the analysis of the written consultation at: