Letters, June 25 2021

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School’s performance results have become unpalatable

I am writing with the desire to raise awareness and engage with the wider Kintyre community on the matter of a growing number of individuals locally airing their personal concerns and frustration with the performance results of Campbeltown Grammar School (CGS).

CGS is more than an education hub. Its place in Kintyre is that of a shining beacon of our community’s way of life and aspirations; past, present and future.

So I ask you, is it acceptable that we are presently placed, in Scotland’s school league table 2021, 334th of 340 secondary schools?

I, like several others in recent weeks, have picked up the gauntlet and with best intentions endeavoured to engage with Argyll and Bute Council.

Progress has been made with clear positives.

One such example being contact with the policy lead for education Councillor Yvonne McNeilly.

In response to an email, Councillor McNeilly wrote: ‘It is important to emphasise that there are a wide range of success measures beyond examination results, but so that you can be fully reassured, I have copied in our executive director with responsibility for the education service Douglas Hendry and our chief education officer Louise Connor.

‘I have asked them to make arrangements to provide you with a full and factual response about the measures in place at the school. They will be in touch directly in due course.’

Community councils, their convenors, secretaries and sitting members will, by the time this letter is printed, have held a two-hour Skype session with executive officers at Argyll and Bute Council.

I am also being led to believe that the CGS parent council and individual parents are also in direct contact with both the school and the council.

My proposal in writing to the Courier is to encourage the parents, guardians, pupils – present and past – to engage, support and encourage CGS staff, petition both the CGS parent council and Kintyre’s community councils.

Demand positive action from our three elected South Kintyre ward councillors because presently their silence is deafening.

If, after all that, you have the desired drive and will to see the grammar school achieve its rightful place amongst the league table leaders of Scotland, then write directly, asking for a full and factual response about the measures in place at the school, to Mr Douglas Hendry, executive director education services, Argyll and Bute Council, Kilmory, Lochgilphead PA31 8RT or email Douglas.Hendry@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Campbeltown Grammar School’s recent performance results have become unpalatable.

Let’s be heard as one voice.

We are fighting for something and I believe we all have a common cause – that of our children’s education, health, well-being and development.

I can be contacted on Facebook where my username is Tomas Mac a’Phearsain.

Tommy Macpherson, Saddell.

Help in connecting with Kintyre family

I am getting in touch in the hope that your readers may be able to help me find some family members.

My ancestors Robert Watson and Mary McLean married in Southend on July 5 1842.

They went on to have these children: Margaret on May 21 1843; Mary in 1844; James in 1846; Archibald, born in 1849, died in 1851; Robert on December 19 1851; Annabella in 1854; John, born and died in 1856; Duncan in 1858; and John on June 25 1858.

Margaret married Angus Martin on March 21 1872. Their first child Duncan married Henrietta Campbell.

James married Louisa McLarty or McLardy and they had one child: Mary McLean Watson.

During his first marriage to Penelope Fullarton, Robert had a son, James Fullerton Watson, before he married his second wife, Anne McMillan.

Annabella married James Gordon and moved to New Zealand. They had one child, Annabella Watson Gordon, who married Walter Gooch.

John married Mary Forgie and had three children: Agnes, Robert and Andrew.

Robert and Mary’s marriage certificate reads: ‘July, Robert Watson, servant, Kildavie, and Mary McLean in Glenahervie were married 5th current.’

Sadly it doesn’t have their parents’ names.

If anyone believes they may be related to me, I’d love to hear from them. I can be contacted by email at robyn.hunt@xtra.co.nz

Many thanks for your help.

Robyn Watson Hunt, New Zealand.

Scottish Government’s overseas offices

Alex Orr attempts, in the June 18 edition of the Courier, to justify the existence of offices around the world ‘to promote Scotland, its economy and tourism’.

I find the latter reason slightly perplexing, considering the number of tourist offices  that have been closed within Scotland.

Disregarding that, foreign policy is not devolved to Holyrood and the government of the UK operates embassies and consulates around the world.

Scotland has bases in Canada, China, the US, France, Belgium, Ireland and Germany but what Mr Orr neglected to inform us is that these vanity projects are costing the tax-payer almost £6 million per annum to run and a great deal more in initial set-up.

Perhaps Mr Orr can tell us, in detail, exactly what benefits accrue for Scotland from this self-indulgence, apart from acting as the eyes and ears of the Scottish Government in Brussels.

While I might allow economic engagement and cultural promotion, I must point out that diplomatic engagement remains the responsibility of the Foreign Office.

Delusions of grandeur perhaps?

Brian Gee, Carradale East.