Election17: Getting it Right – Marc Macrae, Fochabers/Lhanbryde

All individual candidates or political groups contesting the forthcoming local council elections in Moray are invited to state their case through the pages of our community news site – contact for submissions is editor@insidemoray.news. Here we have views of Marc Macrae, Conservative candidate for Fochabers/Lhanbryde.

MUCH HAS BEEN SAID in recent days by candidates from other political parties as well as independents regarding the future of the school estate in Moray.

Indeed, one candidate to the west is standing on a platform of school closures, whilst another in the east is proposing a second moratorium if elected to effectively block such closures for the next council term.

Much has been made by the Scottish Government of their GIRFEC (Getting it right for every child) programme, something which is aimed at local authorities, including statutory and voluntary agencies working together to ensure that Scotland’s children and young people are safe, healthy, active, nurtured, achieving, respected, responsible and included.

A vital component in the successful delivery of any such programme is the facilities which are available and as part of this it is important that the local authority works hard to provide the best environment for both primary and secondary education.

As a parent of three children currently attending secondary school I fully believe it is as equally important to have access to first class facilities as it is to have the best teaching staff available.

Whilst several schools throughout the area are continuing to face difficulties in recruiting staff, I welcome instances where Head Teachers are thinking out of the box to create solutions to meet challenging demands. Such approaches are to be encouraged and indeed shared across the area.

If elected on May 4th I look forward to working hard with councillors from across the political spectrum to ensure that our children have the access to the best facilities possible. I would hope that no councillor would seek to blindly close any school in the area without proper justification. Such a decision must be made on more than just financial grounds, it should indeed be as part of the GIRFEC process.

There will undoubtedly be times when larger schools are required, or the potential to merge may become an option, but such instances must be properly investigated and not rushed through.

The primary consideration in any such proposal must be the children of Moray and what is best to provide them with the highest levels of education possible, something that I and my Conservative colleagues will work hard to achieve if elected to serve our respective wards on May 4th.

Also contesting the Fochabers/Lhanbryde ward: David Bremner (SNP), Donald Cameron (Scottish Lib Dem), Kenneth Gillespie (Independent), Peter Horton (Scottish Lib Dem), Shona Morrison (SNP), Sean Morton, Ian Taylor (Independent).