Director quits despite the praise

16th January 2004 at 00:00
Ian McMurdo, director of education and cultural services in West Dunbartonshire, is quitting his pound;80,000-a-year post.

At the age of 54, he is opting out of senior administration at the end of April as his fixed five-year contract expires. "It is my decision to go, not the council's," Mr McMurdo said this week.

Almost three years ago he hinted he was in line for an early exit. In a TES Scotland profile he said that when his contract ended his main ambition was to leave behind an effective department that continued to offer better opportunities for young people.

Mr McMurdo appears to have done just that after being highly praised by inspectors last June for his "drive and commitment" in running education in the second most economically deprived Scottish authority where many pupils face tough lives.

"I come from a very similar background to theirs and I know the kind of problems they have to face. So if ever I start feeling that life is tough, I just remind myself how privileged I really am," he said in 2001.

The authority, which he has headed since local government reorganisation in 1996, recently proclaimed that it would be an illiteracy-free zone within four years after stepping up intensive work with poor readers in primary.

One in four P7 pupils is said to enter secondary unable to read well enough to cope.

The initiative helped inspectors to commend the authority for its work on raising attainment in primaries where the rate of improvement is faster than comparable councils and the national average. It emerged safely in the upper echelons of local authority inspections, with three very goods and seven goods from HMI.

Mr McMurdo, a native of Cumnock in East Ayrshire, where he still lives, will shortly give up the daily commute to Dumbarton, a factor that no doubt played strongly in his decision.

His post is advertised today (Friday) in our Scotland Plus section.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now