Results 81–100 of 1492 for speaker:Mark McDonald

Scottish Parliament: Oral Health (Adults) (12 Dec 2018)

Mark McDonald: In 2017, the number of mouth cancer deaths in NHS Grampian rose from 21 to 28. Late presentation is often a factor. My father ignored an ulcer in his mouth as something that could be dealt with later, but later turned out to be too late. What steps can the Scottish Government take to encourage people to check their mouth regularly and to seek medical advice at the earliest possible...

Scottish Parliament: Scottish Government Draft Spending and Tax Plans 2019-20 (12 Dec 2018)

Mark McDonald: Yesterday, I spent some time volunteering with the giving tree appeal that is being run by Instant Neighbour Aberdeen, which is a charity in my constituency. Thousands of children across the north-east will have to rely on the kindness of strangers to enjoy a merry Christmas this year, because of the poverty that they and their families are experiencing. Can the cabinet secretary outline how...

Scottish Parliament: Remembering Conscientious Objectors ( 5 Dec 2018)

Mark McDonald: I congratulate Alison Johnstone on securing the debate. I signed her motion and fully support the campaign. On 18 November this year, a play entitled “This evil thing” was performed at Dyce parish church in my constituency. It was a solo play, written and performed by the award-winning actor Michael Mears, telling the story of Britain’s first world war conscientious objectors. The play...

Scottish Parliament: Autistic Children’s Experiences of School ( 4 Dec 2018)

Mark McDonald: I thank Daniel Johnson for securing this important debate. As he did, I commend the work of the National Autistic Society Scotland, Scottish Autism and Children in Scotland in pulling together the report and the parents and young people who contributed their experiences in order that we might better understand what is, or is not, happening in our education system. With that in mind, I will...

Scottish Parliament: New School Butterstone (Closure) (20 Nov 2018)

Mark McDonald: This afternoon, I spoke to a constituent whose son has a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autistic spectrum disorder. The family visited Butterstone last month for a tour and to sample lessons. They were due to visit last Tuesday for a three-day, two-night assessment, which was called off at short notice—staff shortages were cited—and was due to be rescheduled for...

Scottish Parliament: Proposed European Union Withdrawal Agreement (15 Nov 2018)

Mark McDonald: The draft agreement appears to offer no guarantees on the future ability of the UK to be involved in European reference networks, which allow knowledge and expertise about rare diseases, and work on treatment and cures, to be shared across Europe. I appreciate that the cabinet secretary is wrestling with many issues, but will he offer his support for the Genetic Alliance campaign to protect...

Scottish Parliament: Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route ( 1 Nov 2018)

Mark McDonald: I welcome and support the cabinet secretary’s efforts to get the Craibstone to Stonehaven section open as soon as possible. He will be aware that if that opens prior to the Don bridge being finished, traffic wishing to connect northbound from Craibstone or southbound from Parkhill will have to divert through Kirkhill, Pitmedden or Wellheads industrial estates, and potentially Dyce village...

Scottish Parliament: Changing Places Toilet Facilities (24 Oct 2018)

Mark McDonald: It was great to see the opening of the changing places toilet at Aberdeen airport in my constituency as part of the terminal’s redevelopment. Further to the point made by Angus MacDonald on retrofitting, although it is welcome that a requirement will be introduced for new buildings, can the minister perhaps undertake discuss with his colleagues what requirements could be introduced where...

Scottish Parliament: Celebrating Scotland’s Volunteers ( 5 Jun 2018)

Mark McDonald: Like other members in the chamber, I have a number of extremely valuable voluntary organisations in my constituency. The challenge that faces me, as it faces many others, is which to mention today—I will try to rattle through them. A challenge for volunteering is often how to ensure that new volunteers are attracted. Volunteering can be transient, particularly if a parent volunteers while...

Scottish Parliament: Automated Teller Machines ( 2 May 2018)

Mark McDonald: I congratulate Dean Lockhart on securing today’s debate and I thank Which? and FSB for their campaign. I realise that the debate has focused predominantly on rural issues and rural communities, as is quite proper, but I wonder whether I might take the opportunity to include a city-based perspective. Clydesdale Bank currently proposes to close two bank branches in Scotland, one of which is...

Scottish Parliament: Inclusive Education ( 2 Nov 2017)

Mark McDonald: I hear the point that Mr Gray is making, but he will have heard the Deputy First Minister highlight the significant improvement that there has been in outcomes for children with additional support needs. How does he reconcile his characterisation of those pupils as being failed with the clear improvement that there has been in outcomes for the children whom he is describing?

Scottish Parliament: Inclusive Education ( 2 Nov 2017)

Mark McDonald: I was grateful when Michelle Ballantyne ran out of things to say, because I have a lot to get through. Alas, it was not to be.

Scottish Parliament: Inclusive Education ( 2 Nov 2017)

Mark McDonald: It is okay—I shall crack on anyway. Michelle Ballantyne spoke about the point raised by the cabinet secretary, which I reiterated in an intervention on Mr Gray, about the increase in positive outcomes. She said that it could be explained by the fact that the number of children with additional support needs has increased. However, we are talking about percentages. It is true that the global...

Scottish Parliament: Inclusive Education ( 2 Nov 2017)

Mark McDonald: Let me turn to the question of resource, which I was going to come to a little bit later. The local government financial statistics for 2015-16 show that the spend on education was £4.9 billion across Scotland. That is a 2.7 per cent increase on 2014-15 in cash terms and a 1.9 per cent increase in real terms. Of that total, £584 million was spent on additional support for learning, which is...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (National Plan) (24 Oct 2017)

Mark McDonald: It is a privilege and an honour to introduce Scotland’s first British Sign Language national plan, which I launched this morning at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It is the United Kingdom’s first and only BSL national plan, and it was particularly symbolic to meet students of the UK’s first and only degree in the performing arts that is run in BSL. The plan provides yet another...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (National Plan) (24 Oct 2017)

Mark McDonald: On Liz Smith’s initial question about the relevant numbers, we have not attempted to put fixed numbers in the plan, because we recognise that there will be varying needs in the different sectors across Scotland. We accept and understand that there are variations in interpretation services with the pool of interpreters who are already there and we will be ensuring that courses are available...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (National Plan) (24 Oct 2017)

Mark McDonald: I again put on record my thanks to Mark Griffin, who took the BSL legislation forward as a member’s bill in Parliament and worked in a collaborative manner with my colleague Alasdair Allan and with the wider BSL community. I said in my statement that the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 is an example of the progressive approach that we are taking to social policy in Scotland and a...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (National Plan) (24 Oct 2017)

Mark McDonald: Yes, absolutely. We are looking not just at tutors but at positions throughout the education system. We have committed to exploring with the General Teaching Council for Scotland how we can remove some of the barriers that prevent deaf people from entering the teaching profession. We will look at how we can remove barriers, where they exist, to enable deaf people to access the opportunities...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (National Plan) (24 Oct 2017)

Mark McDonald: Action 10 is about improving access to early years services for parents whose child is diagnosed as deaf or deaf-blind, by developing information about BSL and deaf culture for service providers who support parents, such as health visitors. Action 11 is about assisting families of deaf and deaf-blind children, ensuring that they have access to BSL resources as early as possible in their...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (National Plan) (24 Oct 2017)

Mark McDonald: In the consultation, we heard about the variable nature of the qualifications and levels of BSL among teachers and communication support workers. This is about us undertaking a more comprehensive analysis of what the actual picture is. I give Iain Gray the commitment that I want to see people being supported to the most appropriate level. If that requires us to set a minimum standard, that is...


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