Argyll and Bute Council has said it is “regrettable” that brand new books worth thousands of pounds were put in a skip and dumped in landfill.
In reply to a letter from an outraged parent from Oban who rescued vital resources from a council skip, the local authority’s head of service Douglas Hendry said he “entirely agreed” with her stance.
Mum-of-two, Alison Craig, raised the matter with the council after filling her car with as many resources as she could over the weekend to save them from the dump. She plans to pass on the resources to schools and families who need them.
She believes that schools offering Gaelic were not invited to claim some of the resources for pupils.
Books same as those currently used in schools
Mrs Craig, who is the chairwoman of the Gaelic parents’ council, Comann nam Pàrant an Òbain, wrote to Mr Hendry: “The books and resources were current and up to date, indeed my eight- year-old informed me ‘That is what we are using in class just now Mum.’
She asked: “Is it because the books were in Gaelic and therefore not widely used by every pupil in all the schools of Argyll and Bute that they were binned?
“I do hope not as that would be discrimination.”
Investigation launched by council
In a letter, Douglas Hendry, an executive director at the authority, stressed the authority was investigating what had caused the books to be dumped.
He wrote: “I entirely agree that recent events at the Oban Education Centre are regrettable.
“We apologise for any distress or upset caused and are taking the matter very seriously.
“Making the best possible use of the resources we have is always a priority.
“Moreover we dedicate a lot of time and effort to supporting the Gaelic language.
“We had already removed a number of Gaelic resources from the education office, for sharing among our services, and understand the concerns about why this has not happened with all resources.
Council to carry out an investigation
“We can assure members of the public that we are carrying out a full investigation into items disposed of.”
He continued: “The investigation is a priority to us and the lessons learned as a result of the investigation will guide future actions.”
In response to Mrs Craig’s concerns, he said: “I am sorry to hear your views regarding the council’s whole approach to Gaelic.
“I think there is much to be positive about here although, as an organisation, we are not perfect, and would always want to improve.
“You have also raised a number of points regarding specific local issues and I will have these looked into and give you further comments as soon as possible.”