Another year, another head for Gaelic school
£53k top job may go to non-speaker
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.