Showing posts from April, 2020

Big Questions ahead for Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Bòrd na Gàidhlig: Innsidh na geòidh - Time will tell
(Published in The Herald, Sat. 18th April 2020)
By Michael Gregson
The State’s unprecedented intervention, to mitigate the worst effects of the lockdown, has been welcomed, even if its coverage dissatisfies many. But the repercussions for public expenditure when we eventually, with a shrunken economy, emerge from lockdown deserve attention.
One organisation likely to see tough times is Bòrd na Gàidhlig. In an Audit Scotland Report in December, BnG was criticised for “ineffective leadership, inadequate workforce planning, a lack of clarity over roles and responsibilities and poor relationships and organisational culture.” MSPs Alex Neil, Colin Beattie, Liam Kerr and Jenny Marra weighed in, pointing to a small Gaelic-speaking talent pool, leading to cronyism; top-heavy management; lack of transparency; and poor scrutiny and accountability.
While Chair Mairi MacInnes welcomed the Report, promising to address the problems, it is hard to see …

More Heat than Light - response to Ian Hamilton, The Scottish Review, February 2013

More Heat than Light – response to Ian Hamilton By Dr. Michael Gregson, Teacher of English, Nairn Academy
The Scottish Review, February 2013

For the context of this article, here is a link to the original Ian Hamilton piece which prompted my reply:

So, we equate ‘England’ with ‘The Daily Telegraph’; we traduce that heterodox and rich nation for the worst Xenophobe excesses of UKIP; we are unforgiving of nostalgists’ fondness for Second World War totems, at the very time the kilts are being put away and haggi digested after our own nostalgic Burnsfests. Why – other than for ‘narrow political advantage’ – conflate the Old Etonians in the current coalition Government with the other 50-something million in that populous southern land?
Ian Hamilton’s essay ‘English nationalism could destroy the rest of us’ is, sadly, mere calumny masquerading as analysis. If I, as a teacher sharing the Curriculum for Excellence with a class of chil…

Review, Behind the Curve, Film, Eden Court

Published, The Wee Review, May 11th 2019

Review, The Isle, Film, Eden Court

Published in The Wee Review, July 31st 2019

Review, Act of Repair, Scottish Youth Theatre, Eden Court

Published, The Wee Review, July 25th 2019

Review, The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black Oil, Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland, Eden Court,


Review of Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, Film, Eden Court, Inverness Film Festival


Review, The Lighthouse, Film, Eden Court, Inverness Film Festival

Published, The Wee Review, November 14th 2019

Review of The Personal History of David Copperfield, Film, Eden Court, Inverness Film Festival


Review, Musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Eden Court


Review, Drama, My Cousin Rachel, Eden Court


Published, The Wee Review, 30th November 2019

Review, Pokey Lafarge, Rock Bottom Rhapsody

Published The Wee Review, 10th April 2020

Schools need support, not more obstacles in their way
Get fit and active - if you can afford it
Scotland's 130 ALEOs ('Arm's Length External Organisations') are under scrutiny. Many – such as Glasgow Life, High Life Highland, Edinburgh Leisure – are responsible for sports centres, swimming pools, libraries, parks, festivals, and other leisure services; but the remit is widening, as ALEOs are increasingly managing functions like social care, transport, building, energy and waste.

These challenging times are forcing many councils towards urgent review and change. This may involve increased charges, reduced services and even closures. User satisfaction has fallen; and Audit Scotland made strong recommendations in 2018 for greater oversight and accountability. While Scotland's annual ALEO turnover is currently some £1.3bn, some councils are returning functions in-house, or combining with neighbour authorities.

These changes are not merely administrative: there could be devast…

The Bullies haven't gone away'Empowerment': the approved buzzword for the Scottish Government's current drive to give greater authority to school head teachers. Many are sceptical: widespread staffing and workload concerns mean additional responsibilities are unwelcome. But surely 'freedom to manage' must be good?

Well, maybe not. For many, the empowerment of senior managers means giving them a licence to bully. While most head teachers are humane, supportive; others lack emotional intelligence and are narcissistic in nature. Contrary to the 'collegiate' ethos of Curriculum for Excellence, such leaders are neither distributive nor empowering, seeing the school as a personal fiefdom, their senior position and salary evidence of their own capabilities, and their right to mould the institution in their 'heroic' management style.

This is where the brave new world of leadership programmes meets rea…