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Don't promote just men, heads told

AS THE campaign to persuade girls to take up science and technology gathers pace, Edinburgh secondary heads have been ordered to watch male bias in interviews for top jobs.

Elizabeth Maginnis, the city's education convener, told last week's education committee that heads may have ignored council policy on gender balance since schools were given responsibility for drawing up leets. Councillors were around less often to scrutinise possible candidates.

Mrs Maginnis was particularly concerned at the fall in the number of women depute heads. In June 1997, there were eight women deputes, but by June this year the number had fallen to three, down from a third to just 13 per cent.

During the same period, the number of women heads and assistant heads rose by one. Four women or 17 per cent of the total are now secondary heads and 19 are at assistant level, representing one in three postholders.

Since August last year, Edinburgh has appointed 20 primary heads, three special school heads and three secondary heads. Four of the primary heads were men and two of the secondary heads.

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