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JENNY GILRUTH MSP SHARES FIRST-HAND TEACHING INSIGHT IN PARLIAMENT

Publised date : 28 Jun 2017

MID FIFE & GLENROTHES MSP DRAWS ON FORMER CAREER FOR EDUCATION DEBATE
 
Jenny Gilruth MSP drew upon her experiences in teaching during a debate on the Scottish Government’s Education Governance Review in the Scottish Parliament today.

Outlining the need for the Scottish Government’s reforms, the Mid Fife & Glenrothes MSP stated: “We all know that the status quo isn’t working in Scottish Education. If it was then the attainment gap wouldn’t exist."

Jenny Gilruth welcomed the reforms introduced in the Scottish Government’s Next Steps document, particularly citing her own experience of the challenges involving career progression and stressing the need for better development opportunities.

Jenny Gilruth said: “As a former PCT in Fife Council I had responsibility for five subjects – three from outwith my own subject specialism. To make the jump from class teacher to Faculty Head there was lots of additional experience expected – there was, however, no prescribed leadership route.

“That’s why the first pillar of support on offer to our schools is so important – enhanced career and development opportunities.”

Jenny Gilruth also focussed on the need to give Headteachers more control over the recruitment processes at their schools, citing Fife Council in her example.

Jenny said: “Our councils run HR machines which, in my view, are not always kiltered to the needs of our education system. For example, as a PTC my Geography teacher changed 3 times within the space of 9 months. I, as a line manager, my own line manager the Depute Head – and her line manager the Headteacher – had no say whatsoever in this process.

“Rather, employment decisions in Fife were taken by someone behind a desk in Fife House who was looking to squeeze capacity out of the teaching workforce – with no cognisance over how moving staff could impact on the pupils entrusted in their care. Teachers are not square pegs to be used to fill round holes, as one Headteacher put it to me this week. You need to get the right for your school and your pupils.”

She added: “Our Headteachers are the Lead Learners in schools. And in order to lead learning they should be entrusted as professionals.”

During the debate, the Mid Fife & Glenrothes MSP also emphasised the importance of getting to know pupils directly, recalling techniques she used to get to know her students better.

Ms Gilruth stated: “As a Modern Studies teacher one of my biggest challenges was getting my pupils to engage with the work we do here. Politics. So at the start of term I’d ask every class to bring in a piece of news. It could be from the telly, from the internet, from a local paper. And the only two caveats – or success criteria – I gave them was that it couldn’t be about Sport and it couldn’t be about Celebrities. Most importantly, the discussions which followed helped me to do my homework. To get to know my pupils.”

Upon being elected in May 2016, Jenny Gilruth made a commitment to visit every school and speak to every Headteacher within the Mid Fife & Glenrothes constituency. At present, Jenny Gilruth has visited 23 schools and plans to meet the remaining seven. Jenny thanked those she had met, stating: “I would like to place on record my thanks to every Headteacher I have spoken to for providing me with an honest assessment of where we are.
She added: “I would implore members to go out into their constituencies and to speak to their Headteachers.”
Jenny closed her contribution to the debate by wishing every Headteacher in Mid Fife in Glenrothes “a restful Summer Holiday when it comes.”

The Scottish Government won the debate with 96 votes for and 27 votes against.

ENDS

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

Jenny Gilruth MSP is the Parliamentary Liaison Officer (PLO) to the Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney MSP.

John Swinney MSP’s full speech on the Governance Review can be read at:

https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/education-goverance-next-steps

The full Education Governance Review can be read at:

http://www.gov.scot/educationgovernancereview

 

 

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