Myra Pearson

30th November 2012 at 00:00
Former GTCS depute registrar and head of the school of education at the University of Aberdeen

Myra Pearson, who led a number of the post-McCrone developments at the General Teaching Council for Scotland before becoming head of the school of education at the University of Aberdeen, died earlier this month at the age of 59 after losing a hard-fought battle against leukaemia.

Her husband, Brian Twiddle, former director of the University of Strathclyde's national centre of education for work and enterprise, summed up her drive, saying: "Everything was about wanting to make sure that good teaching led to good learning - that was the central theme of her philosophy. Everything she did was trying to get teachers to do the job better, whether in initial teacher education or CPD."

Do Coyle, head of the school of education at Aberdeen, summed up her predecessor's contribution by saying: "Myra achieved what educationalists throughout the world are driven to do - put simply, she made a difference."

Born in St Andrews, Myra trained at Aberdeen College of Education before working in Ayrshire as a primary teacher. Her final teaching post was as assistant head at Annick Primary before moving to Jordanhill College in Glasgow in 1986. There, she advanced from working in the primary education department to becoming coordinator of the postgraduate course and then to becoming co-director of the professional development unit.

In 2001, she joined GTCS, working with its then chief executive, Matthew MacIver, to develop the standards for full registration, chartered teacher and headship. She was also instrumental in developing professional recognition and the new induction scheme which the teachers' agreement had introduced, giving entrants a guaranteed year's probation.

In 2006, she became head of the school of education at Aberdeen, a post she held until ill health led to her early retirement in 2010. The Scottish Teachers for a New Era (STNE) programme was already in place, but she was responsible for taking it forward as well as developing the major inclusive practice project.

As chair of the Scottish Teacher Education Committee, she helped to make it a body to which the Scottish government and other organisations turned for advice. She also instigated a number of groundbreaking partnerships, with the EIS, business organisations, other universities, and schools and local authorities.

Following her retirement, Myra played a key role in coordinating and articulating STEC's response to the Donaldson review of teacher education. Professor Donaldson said: "STNE influenced my thinking and I was grateful for the opportunity to discuss it and her further ambitions for Aberdeen just before she was first diagnosed. She is a great loss to education in Scotland."

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