Process for all schools
Section 4 – Proposal paper
13.Section 4 provides that when an authority decides to consult on a relevant proposal, or proposals, and after they have prepared the associated educational benefits statement(s) (in accordance with section 3), they will be required to prepare and publish a proposal paper which will contain certain specified information. Under the 1981 Regulations an authority was not required to publish a consultation/proposal paper but simply to notify parents of a proposal and publish a statement outlining the proposal or the part that (in the authority’s opinion) affected that parent.
14.The requirements set out in section 4(1)(a), (b) and (c), and (2) require that all proposal papers should contain the same core content – details of the relevant proposal, a proposed date for implementation of the proposal, the educational benefits statement and a summary of the consultation process to be undertaken. Subsection (1)(d) requires an authority to include in the paper such supporting evidence and information as is appropriate in connection with the views, conclusions, arguments and proposals set out in the paper.
15.Section 4(2) provides that the proposal paper must also include a summary of the processes set out in sections 1 to 17 of this Act – being the sequence of events, opportunities for participating in the consultation, and the role of the authority and potentially of the Scottish Ministers. Sections 12 to 14 set out the special provisions relating to proposals for the closure of a rural school (as defined in section 14). Only proposal papers relating to such closures will need to provide a summary of those sections. Likewise, the provisions in sections 15 to 17 (call-in by the Scottish Ministers) only apply to proposals for any school closure (whether or not rural). Only papers that propose a school closure will be required to include a summary of the process provided for in those sections.
16.Section 4(4)(b) and (c) requires the authority to make the proposal paper available for inspection (at all reasonable times and without charge) at its head office and on its website and at any affected school or at a nearby library or other suitable place near the school. The information contained in the proposal paper must also be made available, again without charge, to those who may reasonably require the information in another form – for instance in other languages or in a form appropriate to those with visual impairment etc.