Rona Mackay joins education secretary John Swinney in high school visit

Rona Mackay joins education secretary John Swinney in high school visit

MSP Rona Mackay has praised St Ninian’s High School when she joined Scotland’s Education Secretary on a visit.

John Swinney met with staff and pupils to launch Maths Week Scotland on Spetember 11-17 at the school in Kirkintilloch on Tuesday morning.

Maths Week Scotland is a brand new initiative to help everyone in Scotland see maths positively. The Scottish Government’s aim is for everyone to experience the benefits, joy and beauty of maths in exciting new ways.

Ms Mackay and Mr Swinney discussed the school’s participation with head teacher Paul McLaughlin, East Dunbartonshire Council’s leader Gordan Low and Chief Executive Gerry Cornes and head boy and girl Jack McDowall and Monica Kierny.

Mr Swinney tweeted after the visit, saying: “Delight to visit St Ninian’s High to promote #MathsWeekScot. What an exciting programme they have lined up.”

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP said: “I am delighted theEducation Secretary John Swinney took the time out of his busy schedule to visit the staff and pupils at St Ninian’s High School to launch Maths Week.

“I know Head Teacher Paul McLaughlin, and indeed the whole school, appreciate Mr Swinney coming to see them and listen to their own unique approach to Maths Week and their general approach to education.

“I have an excellent view of St Ninian’s High School, the staff are incredibly hard working and the pupils very polite and professional. I am always left impressed, and I know the Education Secretary was, too.”



Gerry Cornes, Gordan Low, Jack McDowall, John Swinney, Monica Kierny, Rona Mackay and Paul McLaughlin.

MSPs call on Jo Swinson to clarify position on free tuition following Vince Cable comments

MSPs call on Jo Swinson to clarify position on free tuition following Vince Cable comments

JO SWINSON must make her views unequivocally clear on free tuition following comments from her new Liberal Democrat party leader.

MSPs Rona Mackay and Gil Paterson have condemned Vince Cable following a report in the Press and Journal where he calls for an end to free tuition.

They are demanding Jo Swinson makes her views clear on what they call a “hallmark issue” for the people of Scotland.

The Liberal Democrats betrayed voters when their MPs voted to charge students more than £9,000 — when they had campaigned against the hike.

In 2012, then leader Nick Clegg made a humiliating apology where he said “I am sorry” for cheating the voters — who, in the 2015 election, ousted most Lib Dem MPs. The video has been viewed millions of times since, and featured in comedy programmes, parodies and TV.

Ms Mackay said: “No one really has a clue where the Liberal Democrats stand on anything these days, so the public in East Dunbartonshire deserves to know where exactly their MP stands on this hallmark policy.

“In Scotland, we pride ourselves on having an inclusive education system where people of all backgrounds can enter higher and further education to learn and contribute to society.

“I am calling on Jo Swinson to make a crystal clear statement on whether she supports free tuition in Scotland or not, and her reasons why.”

Mr Paterson said: “It is not surprising that Vince Cable is supporting this conservative policy given he — and Jo Swinson — were working hand in hand with the Tory Party just a few years ago in government.

“Given Nick Clegg’s humiliating apology, it is laughable to see the Liberal Democrats once again change direction on such a major issue. Jo Swinson, if she had any sense, would distance herself from these appalling gaffs by her boss.

“I hope Jo Swinson can clarify her position on free tuition as a matter of urgency.”


Comments from Vince Cable about tuition fees reported in today’s Press and Journal

Austerity to wreak havoc for another decade, MSP Rona says

Austerity to wreak havoc for another decade, MSP Rona says

MSP Rona Mackay has criticised the Tory government’s perpetual austerity agenda — one that looks set to continue until at least 2027.

It has been reported Chancellor Philip Hammond is preparing a new package of cuts worth ten years to “eliminate the deficit”.

The Tories’ obsession with eliminating the deficit, Ms Mackay said, is an excuse to continue hacking down the public sector in the UK.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP added: “The public has grown tired of perpetual austerity from the deluded Tory leadership — and many of the UK cabinet indeed even know it.

“When will this obsession the Tory government has with downsizing our public services end? The damage they have done is irreversible to the likes of the Royal Mail when they sold it off under price.

“To continue systematically tearing apart our public sector will only continue to hold back the economy and hammer millions by squeezing family budgets and living standards.

“There is little intent to ‘eliminate the deficit’, the Tories are simply looking to hand over public services to the profiteering private sector, as part of their ideological commitment to free market racketeering.”



MSP urges pupils and parents in need to use special exam helpline

MSP urges pupils and parents in need to use special exam helpline

A special helpline with unique access to university and college places and more will be up and running when pupils receive exam results next week.

MSP Rona Mackay has welcomed the move by Skills Development Scotland that will see the annual Exam Results Helpline assist pupils.

A round 139,000 young people in Scotland will receive their National, Higher, Advanced Higher and Scottish Baccalaureate results on Tuesday August 8.

Qualified careers advisers will be on hand to help young people who may not have received the results they were hoping for or who have done better than they expected.

The skilled professionals will have unique access to information on UCAS course vacancies at UK colleges and universities, confirmation and clearing, advice about Modern and Foundation Apprenticeships and employment or volunteering.

Ms Mackay said: “Young people receiving their exam results from school can be both very stressful and very exhilarating. There can be some surprises and shocks, so for those who need guidance, the Exam Results Helpline is there with special access to all sorts of information.

“I urge any pupils and their parents to use this resource if they are worried. It is an excellent resource run by skilled advisers who can offer some very valuable information.”

This is the 25th year of the free Helpline which offers advice, information and support for young people and their parents, who make a third of all calls.

The Helpline will be open from 8am until 8pm on 8 and 9 August and from 9am until 5pm from 10 until 16 August. The number to call is 0808 100 8000.



Post-results information for pupils and parents is also available at There’s also information about Modern Apprenticeships and Foundation Apprenticeships, at Foundation Apprenticeships help young people gain valuable, real-world work experience and access work-based learning while they are still at school.

Students can also access help, advice and support via My World of Work’s Facebook page which has practical help and links to UCASSAASYoung Scot and the SQA.


Rona Mackay calls on constituents to help save bee and butterfly populations

Rona Mackay calls on constituents to help save bee and butterfly populations

MSP Rona Mackay has called on constituents to get behind new measures to save Scotland’s bees and butterflies.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP has expressed deep concerns at the plummeting pollinator populations in Scotland.

Since 1980, 51 per cent of Scotland’s bee and butterfly population has died out leading to fears of major problems in the environment, agriculture, economy and health and well-being of the public.

The Scottish Government has published the Pollinator Strategy that outlines objectives and outcomes to put in place measures by 2027 to ensure Scotland’s bee population is thriving and supported.

The objectives are:

  1. To make Scotland more pollinator-friendly, halting and reversing the decline in native pollinator populations.
  2. To improve our understanding of pollinators and their pollination service.
  3. To manage the commercial use of pollinators to benefit native pollinators.
  4. To raise awareness and encourage action across sectors.
  5. To monitor and evaluate whether pollinators are thriving.

A full list of how these objectives will be achieved is available in the Pollinator Strategy.

Ms Mackay said: “Our pollinating species are disappearing globally at an alarming rate, so this Pollinator Strategy from the SNP government is absolutely necessary.

“As a country, we have amazing biodiversity, but still our use of land, pesticides, pollution, disease and climate change in general is causing this distressing decline in bee and butterfly populations.

“Many of the foods we eat on our dinner table have been put there due to the role of butterflies and bees pollinating many of the fruit and vegetables we eat, or indeed pollinating the food that animals we then consume.

“It is estimated in the UK alone, one third of food is pollination dependent, 70 types of crop rely on pollinators, 6,000 tonnes of honey are produced by bees and on the whole, £400 million to the economy is made off of our bees and pollinators.

“I am asking my constituents to take heed of the plans the Scottish Government has published, because I know many across the constituency are already creating amazing habitats for pollinators. For the public, it’s as simple as growing flowers in the garden, and there is a whole host of information online on what we can do to help.”




MSP calls on Strathkelvin and Bearsden public to join critique on court sentencing

MSP calls on Strathkelvin and Bearsden public to join critique on court sentencing

MSP Rona Mackay has urged constituents to take part in a Scottish courts consultation.

The Scottish Sentencing Council is launching the public opinion drive on new guidelines are sentenced by courts.

It is aimed at assisting judges in court and to help the public better understand how sentences are decided.

The consultation will run until October 27 and is available on the SSC website.

Ms Mackay, deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, said: “The sentencing of criminals has often been a matter the public are keen to comment and reflect on.

“There are indeed discussions to be had, and I welcome the Scottish Sentencing Council’s drive to gather the views of the public on sentences taking place until October 27.

“I urge my constituents to have some input into justice in Scotland and take part in this exciting new consultation.”


From Rona Mackay MSP by Alan Ferguson (07342 061722)

Notes to reporter:


Although some guidance on appropriate sentences in particular cases is available in the form of court decisions, the fundamental principles and purposes of sentencing in Scotland have not been expressly defined in any single piece of legislation or court judgment. The Scottish Sentencing Council’s first draft guideline, the Principles and Purposes of Sentencing, aims to set out clearly both the principles underlying sentencing decisions and the overarching purposes of sentencing. The guideline is intended to:

  • provide judges and the public with a clear statement about the aims of current sentencing practice in the Scottish courts
  • increase transparency by providing the public with an understanding of the approach taken by judges when deciding decisions
  • promote consistency in the approaches taken by judges to sentencing

Consultation Link:



MSP airs concerns about road chaos to council chiefs

MSP airs concerns about road chaos to council chiefs

ROAD closures in Torrance, Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch have caused “utter chaos”, MSP Rona Mackay has said.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP has written to the deputy chief executive of East Dunbartonshire Council, Thomas Glen, on the matter.

She questioned why no one from the Roads Department thought it would be a bad idea to close a busy road at Torrance, and then divert traffic through Kirkintilloch Road which is reduced to one lane with temporary traffic lights.

The MSP added that Balmuildy road, an alternative route out of Bishopbriggs, was also affected by lane closures, delaying people for more than an hour and a half on a journey to Milngavie.

Ms Mackay said: “Roadworks are necessary but the lack of coordination and planning, it seems, in this case they have caused utter chaos on the roads in Torrance, Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch.

“My constituents have been furious — there is no excuse for a simple and short journey between Kirkintilloch and Milngavie to take one-and-a-half hours.

“On the back of these complaints I have written to East Dunbartonshire Council to hopefully get some answers on why this is happening and so we can avoid this bedlam in the future.”


GRACE funding windfall will help charity continue changing lives

GRACE funding windfall will help charity continue changing lives

MSP Rona Mackay has congratulated a Kirkintilloch peer-led after care charity on securing a significant funding windfall.

Group Recovery Aftercare Community Enterprise (GRACE) has received £8,880 from The Big Lottery’s Awards for All Scotland funding pot.

It is part of a £619,912 sum from the National Lottery being shared amongst arts, sports and community groups across Scotland.

The cash will be used to hold yoga and mindfulness sessions free of cost for service users and the wider community.

Ms Mackay, who has supported GRACE since she was elected, has praised the charity for its continuous service to those recovering from trauma.

She said: “Well done to Robert Smith and the whole of GRACE for securing this funding, to continue supporting people who have suffered from terrible ordeals.

“The work GRACE does in the community, in helping people recover from trauma, whether it is drug or alcohol addiction, or mental health problems, is life-changing to the service users.

“I would like to thank the Big Lottery Fund for recognising the good work done by this charity, I know the cash will be used very well.”


National Lottery Awards for All Scotland is now more straightforward to apply to and faster to get funding from. Applications are received on a rolling basis and can be received at any time. To find out what National Lottery Awards for All Scotland could do for your community visit our website or phone 0300 123 7110