Galbraith goes down fighting

2nd February 2001 at 00:00
Neil Galbraith, former longest-serving director of education in Scotland, has waded into the controversy by openly defending Lews Castle.

Mr Galbraith retired last year after a spell as acting chief executive and has been associated with efforts to preserve the unique vocational school against total assimilation into the Nicolson. His wife, Bella, is a former assistant head at Lews and has leapt to its defence along with the former head and depute.

Others, however, have welcomed the removal of the Galbraiths from the scene, including Angus McCormack, past president of the Educational Institute of Scotland and former Nicolson assistant head, who notesthat "the negative hand that lay on education in the Western Isles for years has gone".

Both current headteachers are publicly divided but teacher unions back the council's plans to close Lews and merge it with the Nicolson under the latter's management and name.

In his written submission, Mr Galbraith describes the closure as "educationally damaging" and warns that closure could be open to legal challenge and charges of maladminstration. "The intention is to take a massive educational step backwards and dispose of a system which has placed the Western Isles at the forefront of vocational achievement in Scotland for many years," he states.


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