A GOUROCK councillor says an extra public holiday should not have been granted for next year's 75th VE Day Commemorations.

It was recently agreed to designate May 8 next year as a holiday to mark the anniversary but Lynne Quinn says that officials did not consult with education committee representatives or parent councils.

Other local authorities switched the bank holiday from May 4 to May 8 but Inverclyde Council decided to have both as holidays.

Cllr Quinn says this has implications for teachers and pupils as English Higher and Advanced Higher exams have been switched from Friday May 8 to Monday May 4.

Councillor Quinn voiced her objections as a point of order at a meeting of the full council, saying the Policy and Resources Committee on August 6 which considered the matter hadn't taken these issues into account.

She said: "The meeting papers didn't mention the Higher and Advanced Higher English exams taking place on the fourth of May.

"It didn't consider the cost to pay teaching staff and additional support staff coming in on a holiday to cover exams or the unfairness of pupils having to sit an exam on a holiday Monday while all the rest of the family are on holiday.

"What are the true cost implications and where will these be recorded?"

The independent councillor is also concerned about the cost of extra childcare to parents and says several parents at Moorfoot Primary are unhappy about the extra holiday.

She said: "What about the cost to parents who do not work for Inverclyde Council, for additional days childcare or loss of income as a result of the decision?

"There was only consultation with trade unions in respect of the council as an employer and not as a service provider.

"There was no thought about the wider implications and associated costs of an extra day's holiday."

Mrs Quinn says that education committee representatives - which include parents, churches and unions - should have been consulted.

She said: "The decision made at the policy and resources committee has resulted in a change to the 2020/21 school calendar which was agreed last year by these same reps.

"Surely they should at least be part of the consultation in any potential changes to this agreement?

"I want to make crystal clear this is not about VE Day commemorations, or depriving hard-working staff of a day off - this is about ensuring all our decisions as a council are fully informed, transparent and take into consideration the impact on the wider communities that we serve.

"I think we should look at the way we deal with these things in the future."

A council spokesman said: “The council agreed, as part of its commemorations of VE Day 2020, to celebrate the day as an additional holiday on Friday 8 May 2020.

"This retained the Monday public holiday for May Day, recognised the unique anniversary of VE Day 75 and, in a practical way, reduced the financial cost to the public purse compared with having two public holidays that week.

"In making this decision, it was felt important to recognise VE Day 75 on its own merit rather than simply switching one public holiday for another.

"The council delivers a vast range of public services including schools.

"Any change to the school year requires the direct approval of Scottish Government.

"This approval has been received and this, along with the decision of the council’s policy and resources committee, was reported to the education committee recently.

"In addition the council has had representations from a small number of parents who require to arrange childcare for Friday 8 May 2020.

"Any change to the school day will always have an impact on parents and others and while we will do what we can to minimise that, it cannot be avoided entirely.

"While childcare will be one very practical issue we would actively encourage other employers to join us in marking this important occasion and supporting their employees to remember not just a pivotal moment in European history but in world history.

"It is one day in 75 years.”