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Open letter implores council leaders to rethink funding cut to mentoring scheme


Programme has been integral to increasing life chances

Cutting funding to a hugely successful mentoring charity will have catastrophic consequences, charity, business and public sector leaders have warned.

Last month it was announced the charity MCR Pathways would have its funding cut by Glasgow City Council.

The pupil support programme has been integral in increasing life chances for disadvantaged young people in the city.

The cuts would mean nearly 2,000 pupils, including 800 pupils in care, will lose their mentors in August, before the start of the new academic year.

Now in an open letter, influential leaders have called for the council to rethink its decision.

Among the 27 signatories are Scott McCroskie, chief executive of the Edrington Group; David Hillier, associate principal and executive dean of the Strathclyde Business School; Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; and Sandy Begbie, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise and chairman of Developing Young Workforce.

They state: “Glasgow city council’s decision to cut its funding for school-based co-ordinators working on the groundbreaking MCR Pathways pupil mentoring programme is wrong in every way.

“MCR supports the city’s most disadvantaged young people … removing this support will have a devastating impact on their education outcomes, job choices and life chances.”

It coincides with a separate letter to Humza Yousaf, the first minister, and Jenny Gilruth, Scotland’s education secretary in which Billie Mason, a young woman with experience of being in care, said the mentoring scheme played a crucial role in her personal development.

“The programme not only provided me with the necessary support and guidance to navigate the complexities of education but also instilled in me a new-found sense of confidence and determination,” the teenager from Glasgow wrote.

“I firmly believe that MCR Pathways plays a crucial role in bridging the attainment gap in Glasgow.”

A council spokeswoman said a review of MCR mentoring co-ordinators was under way following the council budget last month. “Several options are being explored and no decision has been taken to stop the programme,” she said.

“A cross-party political oversight group has been established and we will keep staff and the relevant trade unions informed and updated of developments.

“We understand that this will cause a degree of uncertainty but with council savings of £108 million over the next three years it is significantly more challenging to protect education expenditure.”



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Derek Manson-Smith
2 months ago

As a former children's panel member who witnessed the value of MCR, I believe this is a profoundly short-sighted action by the council