£15k on consoles a Wii bit much?

SPENDING by North Lanarkshire Council came under scrutiny this week when it emerged it had spent £15,000 on games consoles for primary school pupils.

The local authority, which plans to cut 600 jobs as part of measures to make £55 million savings over the next two years, spent the cash on 122 Nintendo Wii consoles as part of an innovative learning project in primary schools.

The council had previously come in for criticism over its spending on such projects as the Neon Waves, however, it backed the decision to purchase the consoles as the move will help develop new ways for children to learn.

A North Lanarkshire Council spokesperson said: “As part of a government funded grant for education enterprise we have provided one Wii console to each primary across the authority.

“They are extremely versatile devices, helping develop hand-eye coordination, provide physical exercise and an introduction to computer technologies and will assist schools to meet obligations under the curriculum for excellence.”

However, local politicians expressed concerns.

Labour MP Gregg McClymont said: “Local government must spend public money wisely, and I am especially worried by the £55 million cuts in local public services. It’s fair to point out these cuts to come are being imposed nationally by the Tory-Liberal Government.”

SSP member Kevin McVey supported the concept of innovative education, but highlighted the impact the cuts may have on implementing this idea.

He said: “This kind of innovation will be less likely as the Council will be thinking more about the balance sheet rather than the main priority, providing the best possible educational experience for children in our schools.”