Ten-year legacy of mistrust

26th September 1997 at 01:00
The appeal by the rector of the Nicolson Institute against a written warning is an uncanny replay of an exact parallel 10 years ago.

Edward Young, headteacher from 1968-89, also received a written warning from Neil Galbraith, now Scotland's longest-serving director of education. It alleged five grounds of mismanagement, including unauthorised contact with the media.

A council subcommittee, in a 10-hour sitting, upheld three of the five charges. The incident highlighted the claim and counter-claim which HMI now says has led to "a climate of distrust and suspicion". The school alleged excessive interference and Mr Galbraith complained that the Nicolson was a law unto itself. Timetabling and staffing were running sores.

The row eventually boiled over into a special meeting of the Western Isles Council, in an attempt to restore confidence in the school. Remarkably, councillors refused by 18 votes to nine to pass a motion of confidence in the Nicolson's management and staff.

In a broadside a couple of years later Allan Whiteford, the influential retiring depute and a vociferous critic of Mr Galbraith, proclaimed the Western Isles "an educational disaster area". Just five people had applied for the headship of what was then the council's only six-year secondary. Mr Macdonald got the job.

An Inspectorate report in September 1988 urged Mr Young to become a more "interventionist" rector. With heavy irony, Mr Galbraith promised to encourage him.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today