An­other year, an­other head for Gaelic school

£53k top job may go to non-speaker

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - DEATH OF A PRINCESS: 20 YEARS ON - By Stu­art Find­lay sfind­lay@sun­day­post.com

A GAELIC school has launched its 11th search for a new head teacher in a decade – and may have to give the job to some­one who doesn’t even speak the lan­guage.

Bun- sgoil Ghaidhlig Inbhir Nis opened in In­ver­ness in 2007 but is once again look­ing to fill the top job af­ter head teacher Bar­bara Smith left the post over the sum­mer.

High­land Coun­cil has now ad­ver­tised the £53,000-a-year job, look­ing for an ex­pe­ri­enced teacher who is flu­ent in the lan­guage.

But fol­low­ing pro­longed prob­lems filling the post in the past, the school’s par­ent coun­cil has ad­mit­ted it will have to ac­cept a non-Gaelic speaker if no one flu­ent in the lan­guage makes the grade.

Par­ent coun­cil sec­re­tary Rosie Jar­dine said: “We want to pre­serve the na­ture of the school as much as pos­si­ble but we wouldn’t cut our nose off to spite our face if it came to it.”

A non- Gaelic speaker has been ap­pointed once be­fore, when James Lyon took over as head teacher in 2013 fol­low­ing a pro­tracted four-year search in­volv­ing eight sep­a­rate at­tempts to ad­ver­tise the job.

Mr Lyon, a former foot­ball ref­eree, lasted only eight months be­fore he left for the top job at Gran­town Pri­mary, closer to his home in For­res, Mo­ray.

Janet Ma­cleod was the school’s first head teacher but left af­ter two years in 2009 to pur­sue other projects.

She re­turned as act­ing head teacher in 2014 af­ter the de­par­ture of Mr Lyon.

She was then re­placed by An­nie MacPhee, who was sec­onded from her role as a sup­port for learn­ing teacher at a nearby school. In the mean­time, a row broke out be­tween par­ents when former act­ing head Annika Jans­son left the school in Novem­ber 2012 af­ter not be­ing of­fered the head teacher’s role de­spite be­ing the only can­di­date.

It fol­lowed a vo­cif­er­ous cam­paign by Co­mann nam Parant Inbhir Nis, a Gaelic par­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion, that only a Gaelic-speak­ing teacher should be given the role.

In­ver­ness coun­cil­lor Ken Gowans, whose daugh­ter went to the school, said: “If we can’t re­cruit within the Gaelic­s­peak­ing com­mu­nity we’ll have to look at it again.”

A High­land Coun­cil spokes­woman said the author­ity wanted to ap­point a Gaelic speaker but wouldn’t be drawn on the next step if an ap­pro­pri­ate can­di­date couldn’t be found.

■ The High­land school again has a va­cancy.

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