PARENTS and pupils came out in force this morning to say "no" to a new proposal that would see one head teacher in charge of a primary and high school.

As exclusively told in the Glasgow Times, North Lanarkshire Council has been unable to hire a head teacher for Chryston Primary School.

It intends to introduce a Multi Establishment Leadership Model (MELM) across schools in the area, meaning one head teacher for multiple schools.

Glasgow Times:

But Chryston Primary is the only school that will be overseen by a secondary school head teacher - the head of Chryston High School.

More than 100 parents, carers and pupils marched outside the school before lessons today, lead by a piper.

They were making their opposition to the proposal, which would 23 MELMs, known.

Levi White, from the Parents Against North Lanarkshire MELM action group and mum to Kade, nine, and Alba, six, said: “We are marching through the village looking for our missing headteacher.

Glasgow Times:

“All of us are making a stand against this damaging proposal from North Lanarkshire Council.

“Our children need a headteacher and they need one now.

“We have evidence, obtained from a freedom of information request, that shows the leadership model is doing damage to our children’s education – yet the council refuse to stop their plans.

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“Cuts should not be leading the educational agenda, it should be what is best for our children.”

Chryston Primary School has seen five leadership changes since its head teacher retired in 2020.

Glasgow Times:

This has meant the school has been used as a pilot for this model without the knowledge of parents since December 2020.

The action group also set up an online petition which has gained 1500 supporters against the plan.

Debs Fraser, who set up a survey capturing the views of 130 families, added: “Our children have now gone 451 days without a headteacher. 

"It’s completely unacceptable and unfair.

“Children in Chryston are at a disadvantage compared to pupils in other schools. 

"There’s been little covid recovery because no one is leading the school.

“This model has caused a huge amount of upheaval and disruption for children and staff whose health and wellbeing have already been impacted by the pandemic.

Glasgow Times:

“The council have failed to provide one good reason for implementing their plan. There’s no educational rationale. 

"The last 15 months have shown it doesn’t work for the Chryston school community.

“The way the council have consulted with parents and staff around the MELM model would be laughable if this issue wasn’t so serious. 

"North Lanarkshire Council are getting it wrong for every child.”

A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council declined to comment on the protest specifically but reissued a previous comment about the schools' situation.

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He said head teacher recruitment had been "challenging" and added that the MELM model is successful elsewhere in the UK. 

The statement reads: "In May 2020, the council’s education and families committee approved plans to introduce the multi-establishment leadership model, which is already well-established in other local authority areas in Scotland.  

"This decision received cross-party approval as part of a drive to develop a range of headship models for schools and early learning establishments." 

It adds: "The process initially started at Chryston primary and high schools when, following the primary head teacher’s retirement, when we were unable to appoint a replacement. 

"We agreed that the head teacher for the secondary school would assume the head teacher role of both the primary and secondary schools, as a short-term solution.   

"We are currently undertaking a consultation process to explore the possibility of implementing the full multi-establishment headship model across the two schools. 

"This proposal is subject to a current and ongoing consultation, which involves engaging with parents/carers, pupils, staff, partner services and community members.  

"Importantly, no decisions will be taken on the future leadership of the two schools until the consultation closes."