Divisions deepen as North Lanarkshire councillors wade into swimming debate

Divisions deepen as North Lanarkshire councillors wade into swimming debate

Opposition councillors campaigning to reinstate major faculty swimming classes in North Lanarkshire have criticised a call to not debate the problem eventually week’s council assembly.

SNP members Fiona Fotheringham and Paul Di Mascio had tried to lodge a movement calling for free, funded lessons to be provided for Primary Five pupils, starting on this tutorial yr – however it was not tabled after being deemed inadmissible.

They say the grounds for refusal of their request for all native kids study swimming and water security have been that instructing the abilities should not thought-about a selected duty of the native authority, together with additional difficulties regarding Covid restrictions and inadequate obtainable pool time.

Divisions deepen as North Lanarkshire councillors wade into swimming debate

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Councillor Di Mascio known as it “a slap in the face to young people and their parents”, with depute group chief Councillor Fotheringham saying that instructing the abilities is “a moral and social responsibility” – however council chief Jim Logue mentioned the proposal can be “totally unworkable”.

Airdrie South consultant Councillor Di Mascio had beforehand proposed a profitable movement for swimming classes to be supplied for all P5 lessons throughout North Lanarkshire, however no funding for the policy has been in place since 2018.

The rejected movement for final week’s assembly was prompted by quite a lot of drowning deaths throughout Scotland through the summer time, and had known as for Covid-safe classes to be applied on this faculty yr.

It outlined “the importance of children being taught basic life skills and water safety through school swimming lessons” and widespread assist for studying the “essential life skill”; and proposed: “Council has the opportunity to ensure that all children get the chance to learn how to spot dangers [and] keep themselves safe around water, safely help others in danger and learn to swim.”

SNP group members say Provost Jean Jones, who determines whether or not motions might be accepted onto the council agenda, concluded that the matter was not a duty of the authority.

They have been knowledgeable that the authority does “not [have] the capacity and ability to create sufficient pool time to accommodate the full P5 cohort, especially with ongoing Covid restrictions” and that the coverage would imply “diminished flexibility for teachers to offer a wide variety of sports options during PE”.

Councillor Fotheringham mentioned: “This is extremely disappointing and highlights the ignorance towards the importance of learning to swim, especially after the tragic drownings over the summer.

“North Lanarkshire should have a moral and social responsibility to keep our youngsters safe and for the Provost to say that it is not the council’s responsibility is deplorable.

“It seems that Covid is being used as a convenient barrier to prevent children from accessing swimming lessons – pool space remains available and teaching staff are ready to welcome P5 youngsters back now that restrictions have lifted.”

Councillor Di Mascio mentioned: “I cannot get my head around the refusal to permit this motion being added to the agenda; the reasons were all quite simply debating points to be discussed on the day.

“[There are] glaringly obvious dangers facing our young people if they do not learn these important life-saving skills at a relatively young age; and when mental health, exercise and wellbeing should be at the forefront of our minds, it should be incumbent upon us to support [them].”

Council chief Logue responded by calling the opposition’s assertion “a disgraceful attack on the first female Provost in North Lanarkshire’s history”.

He mentioned: “Officers have advised that the motion was totally unworkable as a result of the pressure it would place on hardworking staff who are still operating under government guidelines on Covid-19.

“Instead of attacking other councillors and proposing unworkable solutions, perhaps the SNP in North Lanarkshire could speak to their colleagues in Edinburgh and ask them to provide the council with the funding it needs.

“Surely this should be their top priority if the council has a ‘moral responsibility’ to provide the services they’re asking for.”

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