Bill Geddes gets OBE after 33 years as schools inspector

Bill Geddes celebrated his 33rd year as an inspector last month
Bill Geddes celebrated his 33rd year as an inspector last month
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Education Scotland’s longest-serving HM inspector, Bill Geddes, has been recognised with an OBE. Bill celebrated his 33rd year as an inspector in May and his work in the specialist field has benefited generations of schoolchildren and teaching staff.

Hailing from Edinburgh, he began his career as a technical teacher at Craigroyston High School, progressing through various school and Scottish Government roles.

His last job before joining the then HM Inspectorate in 1986 was as director of the Scottish Borders Technical and Vocational Education Initiative for two years.

Bill said: “I thought I might finish my years in HMI flying ‘below the radar’ so I feel a bit overwhelmed – but very ­honoured by the award.

“My job has brought me all I could ask for from a career and it has been a privilege to work with so many ­outstanding colleagues.

“The intelligence, commitment and hard work of HM Inspectors – for Scotland’s children and families – has not changed in all these years.

“What has changed is the clearer focus on the role of HM Inspectors within Education Scotland as central to improved life chances for our children.

“While we have always sought a ­balance between challenge and support, the emphasis has shifted to working more with and for schools, rather than ‘doing’ inspections to them.”

Gayle Gorman, HM chief inspector for education in Scotland, said: “This is a great honour for Bill and I am hugely proud that he’s been recognised for his years of commitment to young people in his role as a HM inspector. As Bill himself acknowledges, he is a quiet achiever so I’m delighted to see that his dedication has been recognised and rewarded.”

HM Inspectors play a leading, and often understated role in ensuring standards are maintained in Scotland’s schools.

They can descend on a school without warning for an in-depth scrutiny, ­making recommendations for improvements where necessary and highlighting any issues that arise.

However, they do not exist to hamper, criticise or undermine schools and staff, more often than not heaping praise on the good work done.

Education Scotland’s strategic director of scrutiny, Janie McManus, said she was delighted that Bill had been recognised.

She added: “Over Bill’s wide and ­varied career he has put his commitment to ensuring every child has the same opportunity to succeed at the forefront of his work.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Bill and have seen him coach and mentor many colleagues as they started their careers as HM Inspectors.

“I join all Bill’s colleagues at ­Education Scotland in sending him ­congratulations and best wishes.”