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20th August 1999 at 01:00
More frontal assaults on HMI, as inspectors came under a cross-party barrage at East Dunbartonshire education committee.

Members were particularly upset at the description of the headteacher's leadership at Balmuildy primary as merely "fair". Director Ian Mills described this as "somewhat harsh" but protests to the inspectorate were unavailing.

Tory councillor Billy Hendry suggested that HMIs should "look again at their performance indicators".

Liberal Democrat Keith Moody counselled the inspectors against "school bashing", and his colleague Patricia Steele, a teacher at Holyrood Secondary in Glasgow, accused inspectors of "putting the fear of death into teachers, then just walking away".

The committee convener, Labour's Una Walker, said that the "fair" assessment was in fact "unfair" and Christine Symington, head of educational development, said the school board was pressing for the withdrawal of the HMI description of the school's communications with parents as merely "fair".

The teachers' representative on the committee, Educational Institute of Scotland activist Frank Healy, just about contained his glee.

If discontent with the Government's representatives continues to seethe, the authority and the parents could do worse than contact their local MSP - one Samuel Laird Galbraith.

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