Archive for the Local Government Category

Local leaders must fight for their corner

Scotland’s councils have set their 2010-11 budgets. Schools know their staffing and supplies and services budgets. At best, it’s bad news; in some cases, it’s a disaster. The degree of consultation, with the unions, parents and headteachers, will have varied. Such interest groups have a right to […]

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Beanstalks and bankers scale satirical heights

It’s pantomime time again (“Oh no, it isn’t”). At Wester Hailes, as at countless schools, the props come out, the guitars are tuned, the talent nervously prepares for its curtain call. The town is bankrupt. Global warming has killed the crops. The bad bankers have stolen the […]

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The true meaning of accountability

Speculation about Scottish council rationalisation has gained some initially positive responses among educationists. Many teachers look back fondly to the late 1970s and 1980s. The regions governed with a light touch. Regional politicians kept their distance from schools but were also people of stature: Geoff Shaw, Charlie […]

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Pupils at greater risk than ever

Pupils at greater risk than ever

A recent Edinburgh City Council report, Organisational Review of Support to Children and Young People’s Service, highlighted major problems facing Edinburgh, which are replicated, to varying degrees, across Scotland. Significant budget pressures were identified. In 2007, there was a Pounds 500,000 overspend on Working Together, which finances […]

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It’s a cock-up, not a conspiracy

It happened in a school not a million miles from my own. A former learning assistant – well experienced, well respected – had moved up the educational ladder and become a teacher. This erstwhile person has recently become provisionally registered, was on the authority’s supply teaching list […]

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True meaning of bureaucracy is lost

I worked briefly in the City of Edinburgh’s Education Department when it was still known by that simple and meaningful title.  If I was, at that time occasionally, accused of being a bureaucrat, I accepted the title with some equanimity, pride even.  Any complex organisation required a […]

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An Interview with Tam Dalyell

An Interview with Tam Dalyell

From 1962 until 2005 Tam Dalyell represented firstly West Lothian, then Linlithgow, as Member of Parliament.  In 2001 he succeeded Edward Heath as Father of the House, the longest serving MP in parliament.  His autobiography, ‘The Importance of Being Awkward’, dedicated to “the men and women of […]

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Time to break social divide mind-set

Time to break social divide mind-set

Last week Gillian Tee, Edinburgh’s Director of Children and Families announced that no secondary schools would close until after the present school building programme is completed in 2010-11.  The review of the school estate returns therefore to consideration of primaries, nurseries and community centres.  The three threatened […]

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Edinburgh needs your support

Edinburgh needs your support

This is an appeal for the tolerance, friendship and support from my colleagues in the teaching profession in Scotland for the staff in 26 Edinburgh educational establishments, which are possibly facing closure. Falling rolls, outmoded buildings, financial pressures and the mismatch between available school places and demand […]

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Better big

Better big

Although our political backgrounds are fairly distant it still grieves me to challenge my fellow-Brechiner, Arthur Bell, and a host of other impassioned SR contributors, on the virtue of small burghs but I will.  Kenneth Roy is right.  Many Scots live in small towns.  I come from […]

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