Joe Cullinane

Scottish Labour Councillor for Kilwinning

Parent Council campaign demonstrates democracy in action

Joe heaps praise on Kilwinning Academy Parent Council as they hand in their petition calling for investment in the schools building.


In Kilwinning we are very fortunate to have a whole host of  groups doing excellent work in our community – PRYDE, Woodwynd ACES, Promoting Kilwinning, Kilwinning Sports Club - the list really could go on and on.


Over the last few months I have had the pleasure to work very closely with a group whose work and dedication is often overlooked – Kilwinning Academy Parent Council.


The Parent Council are a small group of parents who work tirelessly to support the school and the pupils who attend it.


Come rain or shine, through all seasons, they are working for the school. You will see them at school events, supporting events organised by other groups in Kilwinning or at their own fundraisers. They don’t do it for themselves (I am sure they won’t mind me saying that they are all a bit too old to attend school!). They don’t even just do it for their own children. They do it as they care about the school and the town’s young people.


A few months ago I approached them with a proposal that was outside the comfort zone of your traditional parent council. Typically they, without hesitation, stepped up and threw themselves 100% behind it.


Organising a campaign of petitions and street stalls is not in the work programme of most parent councils but over the last few months that’s exactly what members of Kilwinning Academy Parent Council have been doing.


For most it was the first time that they had done this kind of thing but by gosh did they take to it like a duck to water. Giving up even more of their time, they stood outside primary school gates taking the campaign to the parents of future Kilwinning Academy pupils, they engaged with Academy pupils at lunch time and spent a Saturday morning talking to people on Kilwinning Main Street.


And thanks to their efforts the petition, which calls for much needed investment in the school building, has been signed by 1300 people.


It will be a month or two before we know if the campaign has ultimately been successful but thanks to the parent council, and the support of so many more on social media, investment in Kilwinning Academy is firmly on the agenda and the Council, as part of its review of education and its capital programme, will have to take this on board.


This campaign has shown democracy in action. It’s been about people coming together and fighting for a common cause. It has shown that, when people feel empowered, they can fight for change. It’s the sort of campaign and shows why it is so vital that people get involved in their community and that we shake off the shackles of political apathy. People can enact change by coming together and on this occasion I hope the hard work of so many, and with the support of 1300, will see pupils at Kilwinning taught in the quality facilities that they deserve.


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