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Education chief tells teachers: ‘Ignore local press stories about schools’

Terry LanaganA council’s education chief has reportedly told teachers to ignore local press stories about schools under his control.

The Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter has reported Terry Lanagan, West Dunbartonshire Council’s head of educational services, made the remarks during a start of term speech to teachers.

It is also claimed that during the pre-recorded speech Mr Lanagan, pictured above left, also boasted about the council’s Facebook reach compared to local newspapers – including the Reporter, the Clydebank Post and the Lennox Herald.

In March the leader of the authority, Cllr Martin Rooney, took to the social networking site to claim “constant negative stories” about the council by the Reporter were to blame for the newspaper’s falling sales.

In response, Reporter editor Henry Ainslie invited Cllr Rooney to guest edit an edition of the paper.

The latest attack has drawn criticism from John McLellan, director of the Scottish Newspaper Society.

He said: “It says a lot about Mr Lanagan’s attitude to openness and accountability when he tells people to seek information about his services from a source which he presumably controls.

“When the First Minister herself (Nicola Sturgeon) acknowledges there is not enough information about children’s progress in both primary and secondary schools, I wonder if Mr Lanagan has got something to hide.

“I hope the Dumbarton Reporter continues to subject the performance of area’s schools and their director to close scrutiny.

“It will be the only way to find out what’s really going on.”

A spokesman for the council said: “Executive Director Terry Lanagan delivered a 23 minute update to all education staff to welcome them back for the 2015/16 academic year.

“He used 38 seconds of this message to reflect on the fact that the council’s nationally recognised improvements were at times not reflected in the local press.

“On the positive the council’s Facebook page was now promoting this progress to a weekly audience bigger than the circulation of all the local newspapers combined.

“We are sorry if this information caused distress to one of our 1,670 education staff.”


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  • September 1, 2015 at 8:57 am

    One school on my old patch didn’t take kindly to us running a factual Ofsted story about it being special measures – 100% taken from the report complete with council comment – the head ripped the paper up during an assembly during which our photographer was present for another story. All the parents cheered, however, when the council ran a parenting course to help them better assist their children to do their homework, only three turned up – and two of them were married.

    Schools and education leaders in general tend to hate it when you don’t do what they want – such as publish only their positive exam results with no names next to them for ‘data protection reasons’, but the minute you do something they don’t like the toys come out the pram.

    It must be due to the fact they spend a career telling people what to do, they don’t like it when adults don’t respond.

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  • September 1, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Managuan’s comments don’t matter in the least. He’s a politician. They come, they go, and the public has more common sense than to be led by the nose by people like that. What strikes me about the story here is the sarcastic and unprofessional response from the council’s press office. That, more than anything, tells us there is a cultural problem in that local authority, and I dare say we’ll be reading about in Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column before too long…

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  • September 1, 2015 at 9:49 am

    ‘Managuan’? No idea what happened there. It should, of course, have been Lanagan.

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  • September 1, 2015 at 10:15 am

    The latest attack on press freedom from WDC
    Shameful but no end in sight
    Go get’ em!

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  • September 1, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Antiquarian is spot on – the final sentence of the council press office’s comment is just utterly moronic.

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  • September 2, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Odd to come out with this when local papers have been full of propaganda and pix of leaping/hugging, grinning/ etc etc kids on A level and GCSE results “specials”.
    I suggest papers stop printing this boring PR rubbish to fill space and do even more investigative education work to annoy people like this political bore.

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