Too tiny to be effective

13th February 2004 at 00:00
Douglas Osler's observations (TESS, January 30) are severe, even harsh, but what to me is worse, misdirected. He writes "there are some, but few outstanding officials in education directorates" and calls for leaders, not new structures."

He misses the point. It was the creation of the present structures that led, and yet leads, to some of the defects he identifies. In its Gadarene rush to try to secure favourable majorities in at least some local authorities - whoever thought Dalrymple was in EAST Ayrshire? - and in its frustration over failing to cow Strathclyde and Lothian regions to name but two, the government of the day tossed education into fragmented confusion.

It was expendable in the overriding search for votes.

So now every initiative, every new piece of legislation has to be chewed over 32 times.

Strong, larger authorities - maybe Strathclyde was on the big side - are what is required. If Mr Osler's doubts about the quality of officials are justified - and I question this - appointments to larger authorities would rectify the situation. Leadership comes in a more sensible structure, and the seemingly endless proliferation of non-teaching jobs could more easily be checked.

John Taylor Woodlands Grove, Kilmarnock

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