As the school holidays and parliamentary summer recess get underway, I want to say a huge thank you to all the staff in local schools for everything they have done to educate and support our children this year.
Teachers and support staff have continued to face a variety of challenges in the wake of the pandemic, which has affected the learning and wellbeing of so many pupils. The summer holiday is a time to recharge the batteries and I hope pupils, families and staff will be able to enjoy their break.
However, the long summer holiday can also be a difficult time for many families, especially those on lower incomes. Holiday provision, such as the amazing lunch clubs run by the Pennypit in PSG and Fa’side since 2016, are vital in helping them to get through the summer period. That is why the uncertainty about funding for the clubs this summer has caused so much anxiety among the parents who rely on them.
I am pleased that the Pennypit has been able to secure the funding it needs. However, councils and organisations running summer provision were expecting to receive funding from the Scottish Government, as they had last year, only to be told at the last minute it would not be forthcoming.
Councils, charities and families should never again be left in this kind of limbo so close to the start of the summer holidays. In future, funding decisions must be made and communicated well ahead of the start of the holiday period.
Last week councillors voted unanimously against the proposal to remove Prestonpans from the East Lothian Scottish Parliamentary constituency. The council is a key player in discussions on boundaries and its objection should ensure a Local Inquiry is held to facilitate a fuller debate on the proposals.
I will continue to work with all interested parties to find a solution that keeps Prestonpans in the East Lothian constituency.