Thursday 1 February 2018

Boys Brigade

01.18 BBs Coffe Morning KelvinbridgeI was delighted to join my colleague Patrick Grady at the 1st Company Boys Brigade coffee morning on Saturday at Kelvinbridge Parish Church.

The 1st Glasgow Company is the original company of the Boys’ Brigade Movement, founded in Glasgow on 4th October 1883. They are part of Kelvinbridge Parish Church and have three sections. Anchor Boys, for boys in Primary 1 – 3, Junior Section for boys in Primary 4 – 6, and Company and Senior Section, for boys in Primary 7 to S6.

A huge thanks to all the boys involved the morning was a great success.

Budget

Holyrood has backed the Scottish Government’s progressive budget at Stage 1 – despite other parties voting against a budget that invests in the NHS, ends the public sector pay cap and provides a real terms increase in local government spending.   Under the progressive tax changes, Scotland will become the lowest taxed and fairest taxed part of the UK, with higher earners facing a modest increase to fund investment in public services.   The budget has been welcomed by COSLA, with Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor saying “today, I give credit where it is due.”    In the face of massive Westminster cuts, the Scottish Government is using its powers progressively to invest in our schools and our hospitals. The tax proposals deliver both fairness and much needed investment, no wonder the public support them by 2 to 1.

You can read the full debate here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11337&i=103148

 

Glasgow Academy

01.18 Glasgow Academy giftsA huge thank you to the staff and Advanced Higher Modern Studies pupils at the Glasgow Academy. They all gave me a very warm welcome to a question and answer session at the beginning of the week.

It’s encouraging to meet with so many young people who are eager for knowledge. Having a Scottish Parliament and elected representatives to quiz gives them an incredible insight.

I also have to thank them for the lovely gifts of a Glasgow Academy calendar and keyring – they will certainly be utilised!

Pupil Fund

A Scottish Government fund aimed at boosting the attainment levels of the most deprived pupils is set to pay out £21,785,160 to schools across Glasgow next year.

 

More than 2,300 schools across Scotland are set to benefit from the funding – including 191 across Glasgow. The significant investment gives money directly to headteachers, allowing them to spend the money on local initiatives that will close the poverty-related attainment gap.

 

Closing the attainment gap has and continues to be a priority for the Scottish Government in this parliament – and the latest investment in our schools and our children across Glasgow is a key part of that.

 

Every child should have the best possible start in life, no matter their background – and the role that schools play in giving children the support they need is absolutely vital.

 

World Hijab Day

01.18 Hijab Day 2018World Hijab Day (WHD) is an annual event in its sixth year. On February 1st of every year, World Hijab Day Organisation asks global citizens of all faiths to wear the Hijab (head-covering) for a day in solidarity with Muslim women worldwide.

 

A local group from Falkirk were in the Parliament this week chatting to MSPs about their campaign and seeking support of their aims. In my support of World Hijab Day 2018 I highlighted that people should have the right to choose.

The overall mission of WHD is to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other. Particularly, WHD focuses on fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women. This is most crucial in these times where Hijab is being banned in some countries while in other countries, Muslim women are being targeted and harassed verbally and physically.

 

Social Media

Good news this week with social media giant Snapchat announcing they will block “primary schools” and related terms from search and map results. Pressure from my colleagues Kevin Stewart MSP and Gillian Martin MSP has ensured this move.

Whilst this is a good start, it certainly isn’t the end of what Snapchat should be doing to encourage safe use of their app. Secondary schools must also be removed from these searches and the company must urgently work with children’s charities and schools to better educate young people and parents on how their app works, and the risks involved.

UNCRC

01.18 UNCRCogether were exhibiting in the Scottish Parliament this week. They are an alliance of Scottish children’s charities working to improve the awareness, understanding and implementation of the UNCRC.

They have over 360 members ranging from large international and national NGOs through to small volunteer-led after school clubs.

Their activities are extremely important and include collating an annual State of Children’s Rights report to set out the progress made to implement the UNCRC in Scotland.

 

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