Beam him up

13th June 1997 at 01:00
Directors of education are not too happy with the General Teaching Council. Their diplomatic spokesman appears to be Ken Macleod of Dumfries and Galloway, who was put up by his colleagues at last week's meeting to tell the council just how unhappy they are.

This probably had nothing to do with the fact that Macleod is an old colleague - or in the language of official biographies, "former contemporary" - of GTC registrar Ivor Sutherland from Highland Region days.

Macleod took exception to a paragraph in the GTC's report on teacher quality (page six) that suggested the local authorities were an interested party and could not be expected to reach impartial decisions on a teacher's competence since part of the teacher's case may be that it was the authority's fault for failing to give them the necessary tools to do the job properly. That is just a paraphrase.

But it was the authorised version which agitated the directors. "This paragraph is not expressed with the usual felicitousness we have come to expect from the registrar," Macleod gently chided his former contemporary.

Gordon Kirk, principal of Moray House Institute and council vice-convener, who wants to boldly go where the GTC has never gone before, made it clear (well, sort of) that "the registrar always seeks advice and, as far as this particular paragraph is concerned, he sought my advice and I gave him my advice". Masterly ambiguity.

Sutherland clarified matters by revealing what few officials are willing to disclose: they are not always the omnipotent authors of everything that emerges from their organisations. "The sentence to which Mr Macleod takes exception was in fact written by the vice-convener." Now the authorities know who to fall out with.

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