That's all from Holyrood Live for Tuesday 16 May 2017.
We'll be back tomorrow morning.
Have a good night.
That's all from Holyrood Live for Tuesday 16 May 2017.
We'll be back tomorrow morning.
Have a good night.
Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald says partnership working is often a key element to inclusion in outdoor education.
Mr Mark McDonald says this can provide opportunities where none existed before.
He says "there is a big difference between being risk aware and being risk averse" and he wants to see more of the former and less of the latter.
The minister says the pupil equity fund could help with increasing outdoor learning.
Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald says by learning in outdoor environments, children gain a broader experience.
Mr McDonald says outdoor learning can have a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing.
The childcare and early years minister says the government has funded organisations that support outdoor learning.
He says the government also provides a range of support to voluntary organisations.
A fully outdoor nursery, believed to be the first in Aberdeenshire, opened in April after a successful two-year pilot.
Mucky Boots Nature Kindergarten will be based at Kirkton of Maryculter woods.
It will have space for 15 children between the ages of three and five.
Manager Dawn Ewan told the BBC Scotland website there were many benefits and explained: "It is a massive woodland and children are generally happier to be outside."
There have been outdoor nurseries across Scotland - including in Glasgow, Fife and Perthshire - for many years, but Mucky Boots is understood to be the first such venture in that part of Scotland.
The idea originated in Scandinavia several decades ago.
SNP MSP Richard Lochhead says central government, local government and civic Scotland must get behind the massive potential of outdoor learning.
Mr Lochhead highlights the tour of Greenpeace’s ship the Beluga II sets sail on a two-month scientific voyage around Scotland’s coastlines, investigating the impact of ocean plastic pollution on some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes and iconic wildlife.
In November we reported that Scotland had been placed joint last in an international study of physical activity among children.
The research found that Scotland had one of the best environments and infrastructure for outdoor play among the 38 nations that took part.
But it was ranked joint worst for exercise, and for the amount of time children spend in front of screens.
The study found parents were often reluctant to allow children to play outside.
Competition from sedentary and screen-based activities was also a major factor.
Green MSP Ross Greer says we spend too much time indoors and sitting down and that too often this behaviour sets in at an early stage.
Mr Greer says through outdoor learning children engage with their surroundings.
He says there are brilliant examples in his local area such as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
Taken from the Dumfries House website:
"Dumfries House is one of Britain's most beautiful stately homes. Set in 2,000 acres of land, this stunning estate and 18th-Century house with its unrivalled collection of original furniture has something for everyone.
"Dumfries House Education offers a unique selection of education and training programmes that have been designed to support learners in Primary and Secondary education with experiential, hands-on activities linked to the Curriculum for Excellence."
Mr Whittle says only offering a narrow educational pathway it will only benefit those who can take it.
He quotes Albert Einsetein who said: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
The Tory MSP says there must be equal access to outdoor activities.
Taken from the National Trust for Scotland website:
"The National Trust for Scotland is an independent charity set up in 1931 for the preservation and conservation of natural and human heritage that is significant to Scotland and the world.
The Trust has gone on to become Scotland's largest membership organisation and a leader in conserving and promoting the nation's treasured places and collections so that they can be enjoyed by present and future generations."
The National Trust for Scotland has a learning section for schools and the wider community.
Tory MSP Brian Whittle says young people learn various skills outdoors.
Mr Whittle says programmes have been designed to address poor mental health and those in the Scouts are 15% less likely to suffer mental health issues.
The Tory MSP says sport teaches teamwork and responsibility.
He says shared experiences from outdoor learning encourages comradery.
"Changing the venue can change people's thought process," he says.
Taken from the RSPB Scotland website:
"When children and young people are connected to nature, their education, physical health, emotional wellbeing, personal and social skills are affected positively, and it helps them become responsible citizens.
"There is a growing recognition that children and young people today live increasingly sedentary lives and their social interactions are most often made in a virtual world.
"Over the past decade, travel costs mean fewer schools are visiting our nature reserves. At the same time, more learning relies on indoor technology and a risk-averse culture means teachers are less likely to bring their students outdoors."
Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame opens the debate.
Tory MSP Brian Whittle is already on his feet and Ms Grahame tells him she'll call when it is starting.
"You are not in the starting blocks now," she says, to the former top athlete.
Mr Whittle says that, while visits are often provided at little or no direct cost to schools, the cost of transport has become prohibitive as school budgets have been squeezed.
The Tory MSP calls on schools across Scotland to consider making use of schools attainment funding to support greater use of outdoor education, and thanks RSPB Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland and other similar organisations for their commitment to supporting outdoor learning.
Tory MSP Brian Whittle uses his motion to highlight the work of various national conservation charities, including RSPB Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland, in the provision and promotion of outdoor education.
Mr Whittle says that outdoor education should be seen as an important component of the curriculum, with meaningful benefits to both pupils' learning and their health.
The Tory MSP says that sites such as Culzean Castle in South Ayrshire, the RSPB’s Mersehead Reserve in Dumfries and Galloway, and the Dumfries House Estate in East Ayrshire work with local schools to arrange visits along with various educational activities.
He says that many organisations have seen a marked decline in the number of pupils participating in recent years.
Tory MSP Brian Whittle will now lead this evenings member's debate entitled: 'Heritage and Environmental Conservation Charities Support for Outdoor Learning'.
Here is Mr Whittle's motion:
The government motion as amended by Labour is agreed to with 74 MSPs backing it and 25 against.
The Labour amendment is agreed to with 74 MSPs backing it and 25 against.
The Tory amendment is not agreed to, with 25 MSPs backing it and 74 against.
We now move to decision time.
Ms Constance says "we have heard some nonsense from the Tories" on education.
The social security secretary says the vast majority of children with additional support needs are in mainstream education and therefore it is the job of all teachers to support them.
Ms Constance says young people are better qualified than the ever have been.
Social Security Secretary Angela Constance says there are 93 actions in the A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People - Our Delivery Plan to 2021 for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Ms Constance says the government will work with disability organisations to deliver the plan and it will be they who hold the government to account.
She says she will extend the Access to Elected Office Fund to other areas of public life.
The minister says unusually Jeremy Balfour belittled the experience of those who lost their motability vehicle.
The Tory MSP intervenes to ask the cabinet secretary to agree that whatever scheme devised some people will miss out or will she give a car to everybody.
Ms Constance accuses Mr Balfour again of belittling the debate.
She says the Scottish government will work with experience panels on this issue.
Social Security Secretary Angela Constance says this is a debate that the Tories would rather not have.
Ms Constance says the Scottish government welcome scrutiny and debate to move forward.
The social security secretary says the Scottish government will seek to work with employers to improve diversity.
Labour MSP Alex Rowley intervenes to asks if the Scottish government will report on what local authorities are doing to meet housing requirements.
Ms Constance says the housing minister is working on this and that she will ask him to report back to parliament in due course.
Mr Bowman says the Scottish government has a "dismal education record for the disabled".
The Tory MSP says: "This is a terrible state of affairs."
He says the Scottish government is yet again failing to deliver on education.
Tory MSP Bill Bowman says this parliament will have control over benefits with the new welfare powers coming to Scotland.
Mr Bowman says he agrees with Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman that barriers must be removed and there must be more access to employment.
The Tory MSP says many have focused on PIP but this ensures support goes to those with the greatest cost. He says this supports those that are most vulnerable.
Mr Bowman says accessible housing for disabled people is a cornerstone.
Labour MSP Pauline McNeill says welfare reforms have hindered disabled people's rights.
Ms McNeill says failure to recognise what is in the UN report and what people are saying about welfare reform undermines the work being done by the UK government.
She says Jeremy Balfour seemed to defend the cut of accessibility to motability vehicles and she says asks how could he defend the removal of vehicles from 50,000 disabled people.
Labour MSP Pauline McNeil says disabled people often live with prejudice and discrimination.
Ms McNeil says people with disabilities are under-represented in all walks of life "and in this place too".
The Labour MSP says becoming disabled "is something that could happen to any of us".
She says this is the area of inequality in Scotland that "we have the most to do".
Ms McNeil says that there are millions of football fans in Scotland and clubs must do more for fans with disabilities.
She commends Rangers Football Club for installing Broxi's Den, an area for supporters with sensory issues.
SNP MSP Sandra White welcomes those in the gallery and the BSL interpreters.
Ms White, who convenes the Social Security Committee, says the contributions from the Tory benches have been 'shameful".
The SNP MSP says the "toxic Tories over here" are not keen to share the facts and that their work programme is failing thousands of people with disabilities.
She says the UK government were challenged on their narrow definitions of eligibility and they changed the PIP legislation.
The United Nations were told more must be done to protect the rights of disabled people in Scotland.
A report says both the UK and Scottish governments need to take urgent action to allow disabled people to access all their rights.
The UK government said it offered "tailored and effective support".
Conservative MSP Alexander Stewart says there is now more jobs in the British economy than ever before, with more disabled people employed than ever before.
Green MSP Ross Greer asks how beneficial for disabled people is the explosion in zero hours contracts
Mr Stewart replies by saying that gives flexibility that gives disabled people the opportunity to work.
The Tory MSP says there must be training, education and support for disabled people to work.
Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton says news doors open tomorrow with the empowerment of the Scottish Parliament in areas of social security.
Mr Cole Hamilton says no opportunity to remove a barrier to the inclusion of disabled people should be missed.
He says disability is not always visible or detectable and he says some disabled people have to fight to just get a diagnosis.
Mr Cole-Hamilton says the support to disabled people can be a lottery.
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine says she would dispute that the UK government has a good record on the way they treat people with disabilities.
Ms McAlpine says 27% of people transferring from DLA have lost their benefits.
The SNP MSP says there will be no place for ATOS in any Scottish assessment system. She says that she is proud of this and it is yet another difference between the Scottish and UK governments.
Ms McAlpine says that there are some people losing mobility cars who can find it more difficult to get around depending on the weather and that the assessment does not take this into account.
Many children with additional support needs are struggling to thrive in Scottish schools due to a lack of staff and support, according to the a report from the Education Committee published yesterday.
MSPS concluded that some children felt more excluded in a mainstream school than they might have done in a special school due to a lack of resources.
The committee's report highlighted a drop in the number of specialist staff, support services and special school places as being contributing factors.
MSPs heard the concerns of more than 100 parents with some of the experiences recounted described as "harrowing".
The committee has called on the Scottish government to carry out a review to look at how widespread these concerns are amid a 153% increase in the number of children with additional support needs in Scotland since 2010.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We have a system which focuses on overcoming barriers to learning and getting it right for every child.
"The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 places duties on education authorities to identify, provide for and review the additional support needs of their pupils.
"The Scottish Government will continue to work with local authorities to ensure we build on our success to date."
SNP MSP George Adam says it is difficult not to get angry when the Tories defend the indefensible.
Mr Adam says "the Tories think it is ok to attack disabled people".
He says the shine that would have came off "Adam Tomkins brass neck" would be severe if it had been a sunny day.
The SNP MSP says the Scottish government aims to treat disabled people with dignity and respect.
He says it is alright for Tories to talk about work as the best way forward but by taking a mobility vehicle off of disabled people they are taking away their independence.
Green MSP Alison Johnstone says Scotland can create a fairer Scotland for disabled people.
Ms Johnstone says welfare reform has had a negative impact on disabled people.
She says DLA pays for the support people need to live their lives and the welfare reforms harm the rights of disabled people to live with dignity and respect.
The Green MSP says many people are now stranded in their homes as they have had their motability vehicles taken away.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it had highlighted several "significant inequalities" in Scotland as part of a UK-wide report into disabled life.
Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour says we hear a lot about 'disabled people' which is not helpful language because there are different disabilities and people cannot be all categorised as the same.
Mr Balfour says PIP does not look at disabled people as a whole but their individual disabilities.
He says it is important to look at how the disability affects someone's lifestyle when considering the level of support.
Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman intervenes to say 65% of appeals decisions are upheld so the system is clearly not "perfect".
Mr Balfour says only 6% of people who are rejected for PIP appeal.
He says the Scottish government are lacking any clarity on plans.
Twenty years of progress towards real equality for disabled people in Scotland could be at risk, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said.
The commission warned that a "concentrated effort" needed to be made around housing, hate crime, mental health, employment and education.
And it said 15% of Scottish wheelchair users were "inadequately housed".
But the Scottish government said the report failed to acknowledge its disability delivery plan.
SNP MSP Mairi Evans says her party is determined to deliver a fairer Scotland for disabled people.
Ms Evans says it is Deaf Awareness Week, so she will focus on those people who are deaf or hearing impaired.
She says there are barriers to accessing PIP with a 40 page application, but for those whose first language is BSL it is even more challenging.
The SNP MSP raises concerns about the assessments process for deaf people.
She says those that need the support from social security get it, which means taking a fundamentally different approach to that of the UK government.
Tory MSP Adam Tomkins says the current UK government is spending £50bn on disability benefits and this is more than what the previous Labour government spent.
Mr Rowley says that is simply not the case and that the current Tory UK government is driving millions of people deeper into poverty.
The Labour MSP says "the Scottish Tories stand behind the attacks on the poorest and the weakest."
"Just the same old Tories standing up for the few," he says.
Mr Rowley says we need to hear more about what can be done and the transfer of powers to Scotland.
He says "we must start using the powers in Scotland".