No rest for Glasgow's newly retired convener

11th May 2012 at 01:00
At 70, Jean McFadden shows she is still a driving force

Glasgow City Council's former education convener, Jean McFadden, may have retired last week after four decades with the council, but she is certainly not planning to leave education behind.

The former classics teacher is going to become a mentor at St Paul's High in Glasgow's Pollok area, supporting the school's Girls of Ambition project.

The 70-year-old is also hoping to get involved in the school's Italian club, support the pupil parliament, help senior pupils with their UCAS applications, and get involved in smoothing transition into the school from primary.

Mrs McFadden explained that Lisa Pierotti, the headteacher at St Paul's, had set up the Girls of Ambition programme after realising that, contrary to the national trend, girls at the schools were performing less well than boys. "She would like me to get involved in various ways and act as a role model for the girls," she added.

She said teaching and mentoring were activities she had been involved in all her life.

"I enjoy being in the company of young people, I enjoy seeing them bloom, seeing them develop and becoming more knowledgeable."

"I hope the girls certainly will take away from it that they are as good as pupils in any other school in the whole of Scotland, and to aim as high as they possibly can - aim even higher than they think they can," said Mrs McFadden.

Despite ongoing lecturing commitments at the University of Strathclyde, she is also planning to do her Advanced Higher Italian next year.

And other lessons may be added to the agenda: "The other thing I want to do is get an HGV licence. I would really love to drive an articulated lorry round a corner without killing somebody."


The political complexions of influential councils changed in last week's local government elections.

Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire both became Labour-controlled having been run by an SNP-dominated administration. But the SNP gained power in Angus and Dundee City.

Edinburgh's former education convener, Marilyne MacLaren, has retired and Labour has entered into a coalition with the SNP to run the capital after Lib Dem councillors were reduced to a rump. Glasgow remains in the control of Labour, while Aberdeen will be led by a Labour-dominated administration.

Cosla, the local authority umbrella body, is not likely to appoint its main education spokesperson until 30 June, when it holds its convention. Isabel Hutton, who served in the position until the elections, was re- elected to her West Lothian seat.

Education secretary Michael Russell told the Catholic Headteachers' Association of Scotland that the Scottish government had no plans to change the balance of power between local and central government.

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