Plan to boost teaching

The Scottish Liberal Democrats want to boost teaching and will include the following in their manifesto:

  • More in-class support to help every child reach their potential;
  • A guaranteed job for every teacher for smaller class sizes;
  • An end to the casualisation of the teaching profession that means 1 in 10 teachers are on short-term or casual contracts, risking people leaving;
  • Serving teachers put at the heart of SQA and Education Scotland which the party also wants to substantially reform;
  • A review of workloads and conditions for teachers (McCrone 2), and a minimum starting salary of £30,000 to help attract the best graduates into teaching;
  • A new “teacher premium” for schools in disadvantaged areas consisting of pay supplements designed to attract and reward the best teachers for the schools in greatest need;
  • New, optional, three-year packages for probationer teachers – consisting of the current one-year probationary period plus two further guaranteed years – to help local authorities get graduates to take up posts in certain geographical areas

Teaching must be at the heart of our education recovery. Our plan for teachers will be good for education.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have already secured an extra £80 million for education in the budget but we want to go much further.

Our Education Bounce Back plan offers unprecedented new entitlements and resources for pupils. Staff are critical to all of the good things we want to do. They have worked flat out to give everyone the best education possible over the last year. But they deserve better from the government.

To help children and young people bounce back from the disruption to their education we need to invest in the teaching profession.

Our country is stronger when every individual is able to achieve their potential, but the independent report this week showed a yawning attainment gap and progress falling short.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have an ambitious and comprehensive plan to help children and young people bounce back. It puts the recovery first.

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin And Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3)Ruin And Rising by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was totally OK with all three ending scenarios. At the beginning of this book, you could find yourself rooting for Alina to save the Darkling (or turn dark herself), Alina with Nikolai, and Alina and Mal (even if this was set up from the beginning).

Alina is far from the perfect heroine. In the first book, she’s very naive (though I loved her sarcasm). Since, though, she was forced to grow up, though she continually fights through so many weaknesses.

But back to the ending, I gotta say I think Leigh Bardugo did the right thing, there was no other truly appropriate endgame here.

It will be interesting to view the series on Netflix which starts in the next few weeks.

View all my reviews

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Plan to Fix Social Care

The Scottish Liberal Democrat will include in their manifesto new proposals for the future of adult social care.

These proposals include:

  • The setting of national care service standards with funding put in place to meet those standards;
  • Scrapping charges for care services delivered at home;
  • National standards and local commissioning to involve disabled people and other care users, and be informed by local experience of unmet need;
  • Changes to value the social care workforce better, including a requirement that any care service by any provider must comply with fair work requirements which are set nationally, and all staff should have nationally agreed pay, terms of employment, and career progression;
  • Recognising unpaid carers with better support for respite.

These proposals recognise a series of flaws in what is being done by the Scottish Government, including the threat to local innovation, the risk of a fragmented workforce and significant time delays and lessons learned from previous exercises in SNP centralisation

The pandemic offers us a chance to look at how our society treats our most elderly and vulnerable and think about how to do better.

Disabled people have noted that previous legislation has failed to deliver a system based on their human rights and allowing each individual to achieve their goals. Scottish Liberal Democrats can do better.

There should be a step change in social care so that it is guaranteed for everyone and considered a normal part of life that merits investment. Such a change is the key to improving the quality of life for social care users

It is also time that the gruelling work done by the social care workforce is recognised and respected. That means improving pay, conditions and career progression to match the important work they do.

At this election Scottish Liberal Democrats are committed to putting the recovery from the pandemic first. That means making our social care system something that Scotland can be proud of.

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A new plan for business and fair work

The Scottish Liberal Democrat will include in their manifesto a package of proposals designed to boost the economy and help Scotland put the recovery from the pandemic first, with a focus on skills and long-term career advice, new graduate placements with small businesses, new retraining grants for people who need them, and enabling more employee and community ownership of businesses. Among these proposals are:

  • Developing a national accredited internship programme for graduates to include short term, “bite sized” placements with Scotland’s SMEs;
  • Providing funding for a training bond coupled to careers advice that can be used to support people of all ages to pay for further skills development throughout their career;
  • Expanding the apprenticeship programme with colleges, universities and businesses to enable more young people to access places, particularly in target sectors such as low carbon, care, education and artificial intelligence;
  • Reforming business rates to take the burden off high street retailers and allowing them to compete with online rivals;
  • Encouraging enterprise agencies to recognise the value (beyond traditional economic measures) of more diverse sectors such as care and education.

“After years of division over referendums and the shock of the pandemic, the Scottish economy is fragile. Businesses need greater certainty to face the future and workers need reassurances that they will not be allowed to fall through the cracks.

“Unfortunately, even before the pandemic the Scottish Government was not doing enough to ensure that everyone could get ahead in life. Scottish Liberal Democrats have long argued that the Government should be using its procurement powers to ensure fair wages and conditions throughout the supply chain. We have also been critical of the Government’s willingness to pay out millions in economic support to firms like Amazon while letting down small businesses. Under these proposals our high streets will be able to compete on a level playing field with online rivals.

“If Scotland is to recover from the pandemic, we need to ensure that everyone has a chance to thrive. That means getting talented graduates into small businesses, ensuring that education and retraining are available for life and using the power of the Scottish Government to boost small business.”

“This election is about putting the recovery first. Scottish Liberal Democrats have a whole host of proposals for boosting the Scottish economy and ensuring that everyone has the dignity and security of a well-paying job.”

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Local party – missing bits of the campaign

The Scottish Parliament Election has to be done differently this time round. This affects how the local party can go about campaigning. This should be done digitally but many aspects of this approach are being missed.

There has been no attempt to send emails to members and registered supporters encouraging them to join in. There has bee no use of email to the approximate 290 people living in the Holyrood constituency that could get emails from us (this figure includes members etc.) There has been no attempt to upload articles to the website. There may be letters going in to local paper, articles appearing in there too but not provided to me to post on website or send as an email. I’m not screen scraping articles, I want original. These are things I could and am willing to help with.

The recent financial appeal letter could have included a window poster in the envelope but no, none was included – have they purchased any?

The team conducting the campaign has little experience and they are not asking those with experience to help out or provide advice.

I’m am not raising things unless asked.

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