Scottish Teacher Requests Support for his Family

Hi fellow educational professionals and trade unionists

I am emailing you about an issue which goes beyond the relatively small, ideological differences between the various trade unions and associations. It is an issue directly related to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - the right to respect for private and family life.

I am a Depute Head Teacher at Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney. I have recently returned to live in my native Scotland after an absence of just over 5 years, working with my wife of 9 years, Kristee, in the field of international education (in China, India, Qatar and most recently, Egypt). Kristee, our son Kyle (aged 15 years) and our daughter, Nyah (aged 3 years) are all Australian citizens.

We have been advised by the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) that Kristee, Kyle and Nyah will soon have to travel to Australia to apply for the 'proper entry clearance' to return to Scotland. The waiting time, in Australia, to have their applications approved could take up to 6 months which would mean that, among other things:

• I would not see my family for up to 6 months

• Kyle would miss more than half of his 4th year studies, making it extremely difficult to attain good grades in his Standard Grades

• Nyah would be unable to start her nursery in August

• My family would experience quite severe financial consequences.

We are currently in the process of fighting against UKBA's insistence to break our family up. We have had articles recently printed about our case in our local newspaper, The Orcadian and in The Herald. I am speaking with Mike McKenzie (MSP) about the possibility of him and 2 other MSPs releasing a joint press release to bring additional attention to our case. We have also started up an online petition, which has some additional background of our story. To date, this petition has been signed by over 370 people, including our local MP, Alistair Carmichael (Lib Dem) and the following MSPs: Liam Macarthur (Lib Dem), John Finnie (SNP), Jean Urquhart (SNP) and Mike McKenzie (MSP).

I am writing to you today in the hope that you will take the time to read our online petition and, if you feel it appropriate, sign it. Perhaps you would also consider spreading the word about our petition, encouraging others to read it and sign it too? Perhaps a weblink to our petition could be uploaded onto your organisation's website?

If you have any questions about anything related to our case, please email me or call me (Mob. 07500 977 542 - I am generally very busy at work but if you leave a voicemail, I will return your call asap).

The following link will take you directly to our petition. Please take the time to read and sign, if you feel moved to do so. Please also feel very free to email me with any other suggestions you may have regarding our ongoing dispute with the UKBA. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, I love my family very much and I feel that the UKBA's insistence that we spend up to 6 months apart (when both of our children are at especially important stages in their lives) is quite inhumane and not consistent with what decent-minded people expect of their government.

Thanks for your time in reading this.

Gary Boyd

Depute Head Teacher

Kirkwall Grammar School

Orkney, Scotland

Gary Boyd