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Mystery Surrounding Head Of Education
The resignation of North Lanarkshire Council’s former head of education is “shrouded in mystery” - according to the SNP.
The Nationalists North Lanarkshire Group Leader David Stocks says that the council had failed to notify councillors of key elements in the process of removing Andrew Sutherland from his £100,000 per year job.
Mr Sutherland quit in February having been suspended in November pending an investigation on the accuracy of data on numbers of teaching staff.
Councillor Stocks said: “AHDS, the organisation representing head teachers in Scotland, has virtually accused the council of pressurising school heads into producing dodgy statistics and the council is trying to keep silent on this accusation.
“There are also accusations from AHDS that head teachers’ returns may have been subsequently altered without them being informed.
“The public has a right to know how North Lanarkshire Council conducts its business.
“Was there bullying?
“Do we have a guarantee that these practices will not happen in North Lanarkshire Council?
“Was Mr Sutherland himself bullied into inflating teacher numbers?
“It is hard to believe that he would risk his £100,000 per year job over a routine, annual statistical return.”
In 2015, Finance Secretary John Swinney warned councils which failed to maintain teacher numbers and their pupil-teacher ratio would have their share of a £51 million funding package to boost the figures clawed back.
Councillor Stocks added: “North Lanarkshire Council has lost 400 teachers since 2007 – that’s one-tenth of the drop in Scotland’s teacher numbers in a council area with one-fifteenth of Scotland’s population.
“We are the second most socially deprived area in Scotland and we are trying to close the attainment gap, yet this council is a leader in reducing the number of teachers for our children. This record has cost the cash-strapped council £713,000 this year in lost Scottish Government revenue.
“The council issued a 13 word press statement last November on the reasons for Andrew Sutherland’s suspension. We have not heard a word since.
“This is totally unacceptable. We are dealing here with the removal of the top official in education,yet the North Lanarkshire public and elected members are being treated with contempt.
A council spokesman said the local authority would not comment on a confidential employment matter. The spokesman stated: “North Lanarkshire Council can confirm that Andrew Sutherland, the Executive Director of Learning and Leisure Services has resigned from his post and is no longer an employee of the council.”