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SCOTTISH EDUCATION MINISTER RESPONDS TO PAISLEY LETTER

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Lord James Douglas-Hamilton MP, Minister for Education at the Scottish Office, today took issue with a letter sent ...
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton MP, Minister for Education at the Scottish Office, today took issue with a letter sent to parents of pupils at Paisley Grammar School by the Director of Education at Strathclyde Regional Council.

Lord James said: 'There are two areas in the Director of Education's letter which are misleading. First, it states that members of a board of management of a self-governing school would carry personally full financial and legal liabilities for the management and operation of the school and its buildings. In fact, the legislation clearly provides that the board of management has a corporate responsibility for the school's affairs and individual members going about their business will have no personal liability.

'Second, the letter ignores the duties which the education authority retains under the legislation in respect of children in self-governing schools. These include home to school transport and certain special educational needs services. In all cases it will be the duty of the education authority to exercise its powers or perform its duties in a way that does not treat pupils at self-governing schools less favourably than those in schools managed by the education authority.

'A self-governing school may also require the education authority to provide it, at reasonable cost, with a range of other services which it provides to its own schools. The purpose of the legislation is to extend parental choice. But to exercise such choice the information given to parents must be factual and accurate.'
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