MSP hits back at council ‘barriers’ over teacher interviews

Coatbridge and Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor
Coatbridge and Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor

Coatbridge and Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor has hit back at Education convener Frank McNally who claimed North Lanarkshire Council were keen to help him speak with local schools.

Mr McGregor was looking to interview teachers in his constituency on behalf of the Scottish Parliament’s education committee as it examines the performance examining the performance of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Education Scotland, Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Funding Council.

Last week Councillor McNally claimed Mr MacGregor had declined the council’s offer to arrange a meeting between the MSP and teachers (Being interviewed by MSPs is not a good use of teaching time)

Releasing the correspondence between his office and the council relating to the matter covering the period December 1-13, Mr MacGregor refuted the suggestion he asked for teachers to be taken out of class to meet him.

The documents further show Mr MacGregor agreed on December 5 to the council’s terms for a meeting take place, but claims he got no response.

Fulton MacGregor said: “To say that I declined his offer is simply wrong. Clearly that was the outcome Councillor McNally hoped for when raising every barrier he could think of, but I agreed with all of the suggestions from the council in order to make sure that our schools voices could be heard in the Scottish parliament.

“At no point did I ask for teachers to be taken away from the classroom and suggesting that I did is simply an attempt to take the focus away from his poor decisions.

“Every other member of the committee was able to have access to local teachers — including the deputy convener Johann Lamont of the Labour party — in order to give them expert knowledge ahead of an evidence session from COSLA.

“Parents of North Lanarkshire pupils will rightly be questioning what North Lanarkshire Council is trying to hide by blocking its teachers from having a forum with the local MSP.”

On December 12, having allegedly not received any communication from the council for a week Mr MacGregor wrote to council leader Jim Logue asking if it was ‘policy to prevent elected members from representing their constituents’,

This prompted a response from assistant chief executive Isabelle Boyd, who stated: “There was no intention of disrespecting the MSP.”