Sam gets bitten by a Furbie

25th August 2000 at 01:00
WHO predicted "meltdown" at the Scottish Qualifications Authority five months ago? None other than ace astrologer Ann Hill, chief executive of the Scottish School Board Association and SQA board member, whose Mystic Meg predictions were strongly denied at the time.

An enraged Hill said at the weekend that Education Minister Sam Galbraith "cannot be trusted". He had "promised the moon and delivered nothing".

Was this yet another call for the minister to resign?

Difficult to say. "I just don't give a toss what the minister says or does," she declared. Presumably the feeling is mutual.

Hill, of course, is no stranger to controversy. Only three months ago she herself was the subject of an independent inquiry into the running of the SSBA, amid rumours of her demise and speculation that she might do the decent thing.

Galbraith, whose department has pumped cash into the SSBA, was not best pleased that it was identified with the "keep the clause" campaign over Section 28 and had got itself a new rol dealing in second-hand computers

for schools through the "Furbie Foundation".

Galbraith and his officials hoped that the SSBA would confine itself to more immediate school matters in future. Little could he have known that it would do so with a vengeance and with such evident relish.

Meanwhile speculation grows over the future of the SQA board. After all, if Galbraith is supposed to be held accountable for the shambles, how much more immediate is the responsibility of the board?

Member of the board the great survivor may be, but Hill could be fireproof once more, having first sent the balloon up. She is well placed therefore to lend her expertise to the embattled minister, particularly in how to emerge enriched from bruising experiences.

The SSBA executive has, after all, restored Hill's salary to pound;38,000 despite a similar plummeting of the association's reputation during the Section 28 furore and the slight curtailment of her duties following the demise of the Furbie Foundation.

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