Don't blame EISfor James Watt College's failings

23rd February 2007 at 00:00
The eccentric views of Ian Macpherson and Bill Wardle in last week's TESS are as illuminating as they are self-serving.

It is interesting to note that Mr Macpherson's criticism of the comments made by the Educational Institute of Scotland in response to the shambles at James Watt College contains not the slightest vestige of support for the previous disastrous regime in Greenock.

Mr Macpherson's reference to the DTZ report on the performance of college boards fails to include the following caveat by the consultants: "The nature of this study was not to come to a definitive conclusion on board performance across the Scottish college sector. The research methodology does not enable us to do this."

As far as Professor Wardle is concerned, the EIS has been blamed for many things, but never has it been accused of the litany of management failings outlined in the report by the FEdevelopment directorate. The EIS is sorry it was not able to assist in Professor Wardle's removal at an earlier stage.

I agree with Mr Macpherson that the review of Scotland's colleges must take account of the mistakes made at James Watt. To do otherwise would constitute a significant failure to protect public finances and engender confidence in the running of Scotland's FE colleges.

Ken Wimbor Assistant secretary, Educational Institute of Scotland

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