Alasdair Allan MSP

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Alasdair Allan MSP

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  • Member for: Na h-Eileanan an Iar
  • Region: Highlands and Islands
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Alasdair is a member of the following Committees:

Alasdair is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Dr Allan

Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Dr Allan

There are many things that we can be proud of. However, like Mr Gibson, l know that, although there is an improving picture, we cannot be complacent, as there is more to be done.

I believe that Mr Gibson has done deaf people a service by raising the issues today. Like him, and like others who have spoken today, I want to put an end to the days when those with hearing impairments disengaged from learning through lack of support. There is no reason why every child and young person should not receive the help and support that they need to grow and prosper. That is their entitlement, and the Scottish Government will do everything in its power to make that a consistent reality across Scotland.

13:18 Meeting suspended.  14:30 On resuming—  

Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Dr Allan

I fear that I am in my last minute.



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Dr Allan

In a mainstream secondary school, the number of teachers who are involved in a young person’s life is significant. I do not have the figure to hand, although I will try to get it for Jenny Marra.

Questions have been raised about the data. For example, Mary Scanlon and others have raised questions about the absolute number of pupils who have a hearing impairment. I can confirm that 2,534 pupils are recorded as having a hearing impairment, and that 42 are recorded as deaf-blind.

In 2011, the then Minister for Public Health and Sport formally announced the Government’s recognition of BSL as a language in Scotland. As someone who has an interest in languages, I think that that really is an important point for people to understand. BSL is not English in another form; it is a very distinctive first language for many people.

The Government continues to recognise the importance of BSL to the deaf community in Scotland, and the wider contribution that it makes to the rich and varied experience of language in Scotland today.

It is worth mentioning, as others have done, the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill, which, as members will be aware, was introduced recently as a member’s bill by Mark Griffin. The bill’s main purpose is to promote the use and understanding of British Sign Language in Scotland. Among other things, it requires the Scottish ministers and listed public authorities to prepare and publish BSL plans.

I am delighted to announce today that the Government supports the principles of the bill. We share Mr Griffin’s view that it will help to promote the use of BSL in Scotland, and we feel that it is consistent with our commitment to build a fairer, inclusive Scotland with opportunities for all.

I have offered to work with Mark Griffin to explore ways of simplifying and streamlining the reporting and review processes. We believe that that would strengthen the bill’s provisions.

In answer to Mary Scanlon’s question, I note that the support that is provided at college and university is important. The Government is committed to ensuring that, throughout their time in education, whether they are in college or university, all students with a disability are offered targeted support, through measures such as the disabled students allowance.



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Dr Allan

Yes, I agree that through GIRFEC and lots of other interventions, we need to ensure at the earliest possible point that not just individuals but families have the skills that they need to promote communication. Indeed, as Mr Robertson stressed, the different people have different needs, and our approach has to be very personalised.

Curriculum for excellence supports that personalised approach and is all about ensuring that young people make the most of the educational opportunities that are available to them, to enable them to reach their potential. On that point, Jayne Baxter raised questions about qualifications in BSL. It is worth noting that the Requirements for Teachers (Scotland) Regulations 2005 say that

“where ... an education authority employ a teacher wholly or mainly to teach hearing impaired pupils that teacher”

must

“possess an appropriate qualification to teach such pupils.”

As Hanzala Malik said, we cannot change the qualifications of all teachers at once, but we must work to improve the qualifications of all teachers who are teaching the deaf.



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
The Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages (Dr Alasdair Allan)

I congratulate Kenneth Gibson on securing today’s members’ business debate on education for children and young people with hearing impairments. I say at the outset that I recognise—as do other members—that there is much more to do. Mr Gibson rightly drew our attention to that.

However, working together, I believe that there is no reason why we cannot create in Scotland an education system that lives up to all our aspirations and unlocks the true potential of all our pupils. To achieve that, we need to raise levels of attainment and achievement for every pupil, not least young people with hearing impairments.

The latest Scottish Government data shows that the average tariff score for deaf learners has increased by 5.4 per cent; the number of deaf pupils going into employment has increased by 2 per cent; and the number of deaf leavers who are unemployed has fallen by 6.3 per cent. All that said, I accept—as I have accepted previously—that an attainment gap exists for deaf people that we need to work to close.

As Mr Robertson stressed, in most cases—although not in all—mainstream schools will be the setting for the education of young people with hearing impairments and the place where we need to work to close the gap. We want all children and young people to get the support that they need to reach their full potential and, as Mr Gibson pointed out, to reach the international standards that are expected.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Dr Allan

The most recent information is that 80 per cent of schools teach modern studies as a specific subject. Around 70 schools in Scotland do not teach it and many of those are smaller schools; I suspect that that is what the member is referring to. It should be said, however, that democracy and political literacy feature in the requirements of a broad general education up to the end of secondary 3. The Scottish Government takes very seriously the arguments that were successfully made that we deserve a generation of young people who are engaged in political debate.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 03, 2014
The Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages (Dr Alasdair Allan)

We are delighted but not surprised at how the referendum engaged 16 and 17-year-olds, and their thoughtful and impassioned engagement in the debate created an overwhelming case for giving 16 and 17-year-olds the vote in future elections. We are pleased that the Smith commission report calls on the United Kingdom Parliament to devolve the relevant power in time to allow the Scottish Parliament to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds for the 2016 Scottish parliamentary elections. All young people learn about democracy and political systems as part of their broad general education.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Dr Allan

The fund’s purpose is to ensure that nobody faces barriers to education. For that reason, many of the successful applications have ensured that children who face disadvantages are not disadvantaged by a barrier in the form of information technology or kept from enjoying school trips, and that everyone is fully included in the life of the school.

Applications can be for up to £5,000 per school, and I believe that we have been successful in ensuring that our education system benefits all.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 03, 2014
The Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages (Dr Alasdair Allan)

There were 609 eligible applications to the access to education fund, of which 247 were successful. A total of £1,500,023 has been awarded to the successful applicants, which will directly benefit 303 schools across every local authority area in Scotland.

This morning, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning visited Forthview primary school in Edinburgh to hear from children, parents and staff how the funding will make a difference to them. The school’s successful application to the fund will enable it to develop a library to focus on literacy skills and foster a culture of reading across the school and wider school community. Its strong focus on parental engagement and working with others, and the clear commitment to access to education for all, make this a great example of how the funding is helping to break down barriers to learning across communities.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Dr Allan

The responsibility for assessing the state of buildings lies with local authorities. However, it is worth saying that the work and the money that have gone in centrally have significantly reduced the number of schools that are in category C or D condition. The number of pupils in a condition C building is 104,000 and the number in a condition D building is 6,000, which are significant reductions on the numbers in previous years.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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NoDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
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YesCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Alasdair Allan
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-09963: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09140.2: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06643: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/05/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05154: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-04313: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03004: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/05/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-00959: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/09/2011 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S3M-08121: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/03/2011 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S3M-07960: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/02/2011 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S3M-07856: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/02/2011 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-00084: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/05/2011 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-00037: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/05/2011 Show Full Question >>
Question S3O-13444: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/03/2011 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-40450: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/03/2011 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-40318: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/03/2011 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-38093: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/12/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-37604: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3O-10498: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/05/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-32754: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/03/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-32185: Alasdair Allan, Western Isles, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/03/2010 Show Full Question >>