'Crucial challenge' for new council champion

4th June 1999 at 01:00
DANNY McCafferty, West Dunbartonshire's education convener, is emerging as the front-runner to lead Scotland's education authorities. Helen Law of Fife is poised to become second-in-command.

Contests for the key posts in the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities take place on June 18 in Edinburgh at Cosla's first meeting since the elections. Mr McCafferty is cautious about his interest. He told The TES Scotland: "It would be a challenge and if my colleagues wanted me to take up the challenge I would be very interested. It is a crucial and interesting time for education."

Aged 49, he would succeed Elizabeth Maginnis, who stepped down as education convener in Edinburgh. The chairmanship of Cosla's education and cultural services forum more crucially brings with it the job of convening the management side in the Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee.

The West Dunbartonshire education chief is well prepared for the job, having qualified in primary and nursery teaching. He is head of a pre-school and family centre in Glasgow's Drumchapel and chaired a "children's agenda" task group set up by Cosla.

Mr McCafferty is also likely to benefit from recognition that a key post such as education should go to a west of Scotland councillor after years of eastern domination.

With only 12 of the former education conveners surviving, Mr McCafferty is one of the more experienced. Although he has only been a councillor since 1996, when he also became West Dunbartonshire's education convener, he has had 30 years of political involvement outwith the council.

Only five of the 13 conveners who dominate the management side of the SJNC are left - Brian Milne of Angus, Tommy Farrell of East Ayrshire, Charles Gray of North Lanarkshire, David Suckling of Scottish Borders and Sadie Bowie of South Ayrshire.

New faces, pages 4-5

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