This week, Ruth:

 

  • Teamed up with Shiloh, a loveable Lhasa Apso currently in the care of the Dogs Trust, to take part in Holyrood’s first Dog of the Year competition in the Scottish Parliament Gardens. At the inaugural competition, organised by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, MSPs turned out to wow the judges either with their own dog or with a Dogs Trust dog – with the hope of helping the Dogs Trust dog to find its forever home through the publicity of the competition.

 

  • Met with Kenny Stewart of the Open University to discuss their role in widening access to Higher Education and their partnership work with Ayrshire College

 

  • In Education Committee, took a first round of evidence for the committee’s inquiry into workforce planning in Scotland’s schools. The committee began with a session with trainee teachers and one previous trainee teacher, followed by a session with qualified teachers, to hear about the challenges and opportunities facing both trainees and teachers.

 

  • Took part in a debate marking the publication of the Scottish Government’s new National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People. Whilst acknowledging the many positive aspects about the spread of the internet, Ruth also expressed her concern about the many new risks and dangers it has brought with it too – from cyber-bullying to the impact of the internet, particular internet pornography, on young people’s understanding of healthy and consensual relationships.

 

  • In Social Security Committee, the committee considered in private its draft stage 1 report on the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill and agreed to consider a revised draft at its next meeting

 

  • Met with Alistair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, to discuss aspects of their ongoing work

 

  • Supported Make May Purple for stroke, the annual stroke awareness month of Stroke Scotland during which friends, families and communities are invited to show their support for people who have been affected by stroke

 

  • Attended the Big Irvine Lunch, a gathering of the community, where Ruth heard a presentation from North Ayrshire Council’s Money Matters about the impact of the UK Conservative Government’s welfare reform

 

  • Got behind the #GlobalGoals exhibtion of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, championing Goal 10 of ‘Reduced Inequalities’

 

  • Lodged a parliamentary motion highlight Foster Care Fortnight 2017 and commending the work of North Ayrshire Council in supporting foster carers, noting that many people remain as carers with North Ayrshire Council for a long time, including one couple who have been carers for 40 years