Island hoppers

The people of the Western Isles have been snubbed yet again in their efforts to get somebody to visit them (leaving aside Michael Forsyth, who called in this week).

Hard on the heels of the refusal by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to fly to Benbecula for an education forum, the General Teaching Council has now turned down the idea of gathering in Stornoway in October. The price was not right - Pounds 7,400 in fares alone for 50 members and officers.

But, just as Cosla let the Western Isles down gently by suggesting that individual education chairs might care to pop in for a visit, so the GTC offered a palliative of its own. Perhaps "a small number of members (2-3), accompanied by an official (could travel) to the more distant areas to hold informal meetings with teachers", the finance committee advises.

This was not quite what Mary McCormack, the council's statutory Western Isles conscience, had in mind when she raised the idea of a trip back in October.

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