Results 161–180 of 1492 for speaker:Mark McDonald

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: The action plan sets out a range of approaches that we will take to develop the early learning and childcare workforce, improve career pathways and attract more workers to the sector. For example, we will increase the number of modern apprenticeships in the sector by 10 per cent year on year up to 2020; launch a recruitment marketing campaign in the autumn of this year, as I highlighted in my...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I agree that the funded entitlement should be delivered where parents choose to access it. We have issued guidance to local authorities on cross-boundary funding of placements. Where we can demonstrate that that is not occurring, I am more than happy to have discussions with the local authorities involved. As well as preparing for the expansion for 2020, we have to address the here and now in...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I will say two things on that—well, maybe more than two; we will see how it goes. First, the opportunity is there for businesses to appeal any revaluation decision. That should be the first step that any business takes if it feels that a revaluation is unfair because of the costs that will land on it. Secondly, the chamber decided to pass the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, which...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: The new system that we are putting in place, in which the funding will follow the child, will remove some of the key barriers that providers in the private and third sectors have highlighted as currently preventing them from offering funded entitlement. The introduction of a standardised approach to offering the funded entitlement will remove some of the inconsistencies that exist in respect...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: T he discussions that I have had with local government have focused on the fact that there needs to be a provider-neutral approach in order to ensure that a range of providers are available. It is fair to say that some local authorities have involved childminders in their delivery of the 600 hours, but we recognise that that approach is currently not being taken universally. The...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I cannot help but feel that Tavish Scott is trying to set me up for a fall by heaping such praise on me, but I will do my best to live up to such high expectations. On staffing numbers, part of the discussion that we will have with local authorities following today’s statement will be about considering carefully the staffing requirements to deliver the policy. The recruitment campaign that...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I thank Fulton MacGregor for his question. He will have heard me say in response to Liz Smith’s question that we are providing £2 million over four years to enable training to be provided to staff and equipment to be purchased, which will help to ensure that children with additional support needs can overcome some of the barriers that they face in accessing their early learning and...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Currently, local authorities have the flexibility to offer entitlement at an earlier stage than that which was outlined by Ross Thomson, and some authorities choose to do so. That will not change as a consequence of the position that I have outlined. I am determined to continue to focus on driving improved uptake among eligible two-year-olds who are looked after or come from low-income...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: We received responses from 27 of the 32 local authorities. The authorities from which we did not receive response were Clackmannanshire Council, East Dunbartonshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Stirling Council. We received a response from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, but we did not receive one from the Scottish Local Government Partnership....

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I hope that the steps that I have outlined on the approach that we will take to the funding model—to ensure that funding is provided so that the living wage can be provided, and so that we create a suitable quality standard—will help to encourage more providers to offer funded entitlement, whether through expanding what they currently offer or by bringing themselves to the table as new...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: As I have highlighted on more than one occasion, the £50 million of additional revenue to ensure that all staff who deliver the funded entitlement are paid the living wage will help with that. On the recruitment campaign that we will undertake, an issue that has been raised with me on numerous occasions is the feeling that the role of staff in early learning and childcare settings has not...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (Draft National Plan) (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Oh my. Thank you, Presiding Officer. I am pleased to open this debate on Scotland’s first draft British Sign Language national plan, which we published for consultation on 1 March. I am sure that many members will remember the historic day back in September 2015 when the Parliament unanimously passed the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill. On that day, the public gallery was full of BSL...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (Draft National Plan) (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: At the risk of giving the interpreter at the back of the chamber some difficulty, I say aye. We recognise that there are variations in BSL, and we are more than happy to consider that in the context of our approaches. We know that there are significant variations in access to information and services in BSL across the Scottish public sector. To address that, we will develop, test and promote...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (Draft National Plan) (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Not at your wife!

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (Draft National Plan) (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I begin by thanking our two interpreters at the back of the chamber, Andrew and Yvonne, who have spent the afternoon trying valiantly to communicate the messages that members have been putting across in the chamber to BSL users watching this debate. I thank the interpreters very much for the efforts that they have put in to ensure that the debate is as accessible as possible. I mentioned at...

Scottish Parliament: British Sign Language (Draft National Plan) (23 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I will certainly go back and check what discussions have been had with the SQA and look at what we can do in relation to the point that Mark Griffin raised. Dingwall academy was highlighted as a positive example of using BSL that we should look at and Alison Johnstone said that we should look at how more schools could use BSL. I will take this opportunity, because ministers do not get such an...

Scottish Parliament: Independence Referendum (21 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Will the member give way?

Scottish Parliament: Independence Referendum (21 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Will Willie Rennie give way?

Scottish Parliament: Independence Referendum (21 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Give way.

Scottish Parliament: Play Scotland (Play Charter) (14 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I will do my best to respond to an excellent and wide-ranging debate, which I thank Ruth Maguire for securing. I also thank Play Scotland for its on-going support for play and for facilitating this evening’s reception to celebrate Scotland’s play charter. The turnout for the debate, which is a lot higher than the turnouts that we often get for members’ business debates, demonstrates the...


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