Doran in sudden departure

21st August 2009 at 01:00
Glasgow's head of children and families accepts early retirementredundancy package

Margaret Doran, Glasgow's controversial head of children and families, has accepted an early retirementredundancy package as part of the city council's cost- cutting drive and will leave at the end of this month.

Appointed only two years ago as executive director of education and social work, with a com- bined budget of pound;1.2 billion, her responsibility for adult social work was removed last year when she became executive director of children and families. Ms Doran, who earned pound;120,000, is not being replaced in the directorate.

Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland and a former Glasgow headteacher, said Ms Doran's departure, hot on the heels of fellow directors Ian Fraser in Inverclyde and David Cameron in Stirling, raised questions about the role of chief executives in the management of education across the country under the concordat deal between central and local government.

A mixed report card would sum up her three-year tenure of the education brief (she was depute director of education for a year before taking on the combined social work and education brief in 2007).

One of her main priorities was to raise attainment, particularly among disadvantaged groups. This year's exam results went only some way towards achieving that; although improved overall, they do not reflect the improvements that councillors have been calling for.

The council's closure programme of 11 primaries and nine nurseries was highly controversial, and the authority still faces a potential legal challenge over its decision to "parachute" in displaced headteachers without consulting parent councils in advance (p2).

Jonathan Findlay, executive member for education, said: "As director of children and families, she has been an inspirational champion of the city's children and spearheaded the drive towards integrated working between all agencies involved in delivering services to children."

But many heads found her difficult to deal with, and her listening skills were said to be at their sharpest when talking to those who agreed with her.

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