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Heads never rolled here

I read last week's leader article on Clackmannanshire Council's HMIE report with some interest and found in the main a very interesting angle that was taken. Certainly the point about interventions without ministerial powers was well made.

However, there was one area which I feel needed some clarification and maybe some redress. The phrase "Clackmannanshire foresaw the writing on the HMI wall (and) removed headteachers . . ." gives the impression that, alongside the comments on weaknesses in exam performance, these are secondary headteachers. Can I assure you we have not removed any secondary headteachers from Clackmannanshire schools.

Currently two of the headteacher posts are somewhat changed in nature from the position which pertained at the beginning of the 2002-03 academic year.

First, Lornshill Academy where Alastair McLachlan has retired after a considerable period of great success as headteacher.

This was a departure that saddened the school's staff, parents and pupils, for he will be greatly missed.

Having retired, he is currently working full-time at council headquarters on producing the templates for the three new and refurbished secondary schools we shall have in Clackmannanshire. So it is entirely wrong to imply that Alastair was removed and I hope you will be able to retract that impression.

In the case of Alva Academy, Ian Lamont was seconded for almost a year to run our "community improvement zone" scheme in two parts of Clackmannanshire. This ended on June 30, 2003.

Unfortunately before he could complete the secondment he was taken ill and continues to be away from his work on sick leave, and an acting head is in post.

I hope this clarifies the position and refutes any suggestion that the secondary headteachers have been removed.

The occurrences referred to in the HMIE report date from previous years and were well known at the time as actions of a decisive nature against poor performance. None of them was actually in the secondary sector.

I thank you for your usually good and balanced reporting and have not previously felt any need to communicate my desire for correcting an inaccuracy.

Dave Jones


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