Teacher pulls out of £34k Muck Primary school post

Muck Primary is based on the tiny island 15 miles out into the Atlantic. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Muck Primary is based on the tiny island 15 miles out into the Atlantic. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A TEACHER who accepted a job at one of Scotland’s remotest schools following a long search to fill the post has pulled out at the 11th hour.

Education bosses thought they had finally found a teacher for the six pupils of Muck Primary, based on the tiny island 15 miles out into the Atlantic.

But teacher Amanda Bland has pulled out only days before she was due to start work on the Inner Hebridean isle.

Stand-in teacher Liz Boden – drafted in from nearby Eigg – was due to leave in October to resume her normal teaching job. But she carried on after nobody had applied for the Muck post by the time the applications deadline first closed in August.

Mrs Boden will now continue teaching the children until a new teacher is found for the post, which has a salary of up to £34,200 a year.

Ms Bland, from East Lothian, applied when the job was re-advertised three months ago.

But Highland Council confirmed yesterday that she had pulled out. They did not reveal the reasons for her withdrawal, which is believed to have come only days ago.

“She was due to start in the New Year and it was a permanent appointment. The post will be re-advertised this month,” said a spokeswoman.

The job includes a school flat and it is believed Ms Bland was moving in as a single person.

In addition to four boys and two girls in the primary, there is also a girl in nursery, taught by an assistant. When Ms Bland was appointed, Mrs Boden said she was not surprised it had proved difficult to find a new teacher.

“Muck is quite isolated and the weather can be difficult. In the winter, there are only four boats a week and that is when they can run,” she said. “But it is a lovely school and the children are a joy to teach. They are motivated and work hard. They are friendly and respectful.

“The only real problem is that they are different ages and have different lessons. But they are all delightful. The parents are so supportive, too – they are always willing to help.”

Hilda Ibrahim, based on the nearby island of Eigg, will continue to be the cluster headteacher for Muck and Eigg Primary Schools, council bosses said.

Muck Primary is a single- teacher school. The last permament teacher left in July last year. Pupils are sent to Mallaig High School on the mainland when they reach secondary age, living in hostel accommodation.

Last year, round-the-clock electricity finally came to the Hebridean island. Previously, the 38 residents had to ration their use of power over just ten hours a day. It is believed that Muck was the last community in Scotland without round-the-clock power.

In 2012 the ten families on Muck celebrated winning almost £1 million in Lottery funding. Having shared the power from a 10KW generator – with islanders taking turns to use washing machines – the cash boost enabled them to install renewable energy schemes for all-day electricity.