A HEADTEACHER praised for turning around a struggling secondary school has been suspended from his job.
Eddie Muir, the head of Kirkintilloch High in the East Dunbartonshire town, has been ordered to stay away from the school as a council probe into his conduct gets under way.
The 65-year-old was previously singled out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) for showing “exemplary leadership” at the 600-pupil school.
He was credited with turning around the school’s standards and was described in the past as an exemplary public servant.
But his absence has left an information vacuum with many parents left scratching their heads, wondering what has happened to him.
SNP councillor John Jamieson, who sits on East Dunbartonshire Council’s education appeals committee, said: “It’s been a real surprise.
“I don’t know the reasons for the suspension but the town is shocked by it. This is a man who has transformed the fortunes of the school in the last few years.”
Council chiefs have refused to confirm when – or if – the head will return to the school or the exact reasons for his suspension.
In a letter sent out to parents last month, the council’s chief executive officer, Jaqui MacDonald, said they had appointed George Cooper, from nearby Bearsden Academy, as acting head to fill in for Mr Muir “due to his absence”.
The letter added: “Mr Cooper will be working with the staff and the members of the senior management team to ensure that the school continues to provide the highest standard of education for pupils.”
Kirkintilloch Community Councillor Gordon Carmichael said: “Eddie Muir has been a great asset to our community.
“He has done stellar work in the school.”
Parents have been left puzzled by the turn of events.
One mum told us: “No one knows why it has happened. You think there would be more transparency around this given his important position.”
The father-of-two’s predecessor also found himself suspended from the top job at the school.
John MacDonald was removed from his post in 2007 not long after controversially letting pupils take Standard Grade exams a year early.
HMIE had criticised the way the school allowed pupils to sit the tests in S3 rather than S4 – so-called early presentation.
The report described the quality of the curriculum as “weak” and inspectors called on the school to prepare an action plan indicating how it would address the failings.
When Mr Muir took over – first as acting head before landing the job permanently – he transformed the school’s fortunes.
In 2009, Kirkintilloch High received an excellent follow-up report from HMIE.
It singled out Mr Muir for his exemplary leadership.
Last week, Mr Muir couldn’t be contacted at his home near the school.
Ann Davies, the council’s depute chief executive for education, people and business, said: “We do not comment on individual members of staff.”