Under-pressure council holds education meeting

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ARGYLL and Bute Council has been accused of avoiding responsibility over its ‘weak’ education service as a special council meeting was arranged to debate the issue.

The council will meet today (Friday) amid claims its leadership is failing to shoulder the blame for an inspection report from Education Scotland which graded aspects of the service ‘weak’.

Local politicians have raised concerns over the reaction of council leaders to the damning education report since its publication in March.
Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute, said: ‘There is a significant and growing body of opinion that deeply regrets the inability of the council to accept the verdict of Education Scotland, knuckle down to producing and implementing an urgent, well-
resourced and carefully
thought through improvement plan.’

He continued: ‘Weak leadership attempts to muddy the waters to avoid taking responsibility; strong leadership seeks to provide clarity, consensus and agreed progress.’

The criticism followed internal wrangling among council members over who should have had prior sight of the report ahead of publication.

Jackie Baillie MSP, whose constituency includes schools within Argyll and Bute Council, said: ‘I had hoped the authority would embrace the findings and substance of the report and focus on what needs to be improved.’
Council leader Dick Walsh has come under criticism over his handling of the education report. In response, he said: ‘It is continually unfortunate that certain parties seek to present matters in a way that paints officers of our council in a negative light. This is a time for a collaborative approach to the improvement work and I would hope that involves everyone in contributing to this work rather than senseless attacks on Argyll and Bute Council’s dedicated officers and staff.’