St Andrews Botanic Garden Trust: reinstate Nikki MacDonald as Education Officer

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Nikki MacDonald has been the driving force of the education programme at the St Andrews Botanic Garden since taking up post as Education Officer in 2010.

In planning and organising curriculum-based school visits for over 1,500 pupils each year, Nikki earned the respect and admiration of a team of Education Tutors and volunteers at the Garden with her dedication and professionalism. Publicly-available annual reports of the St Andrews Botanic Garden Education Trust consistently praised Nikki’s hard work and resulting successes.

It is therefore shocking that Nikki was dismissed from her role in 2017. This was a role that Nikki loved and excelled in but she now finds her career severely undermined. The treatment of Nikki by her employer (the St Andrews Botanic Garden Trust) has led several tutors to resign and a number of volunteers to withdraw their support. The education programme has ground to a halt - there have been no school bookings for tutor-led activities since May 2017 and only one adult education class. In what is a small organisation, Nikki’s dismissal follows the resignation of 7 other long-serving and experienced Garden staff and key management volunteers since the appointment of the Garden Director in 2014.

Against this background sits the fact that the St Andrews Botanic Garden Trust is a charity charged with promoting and advancing environmental education. The charity relies upon a Fife Council grant for its core funding, which is due for renewal on 31st March 2018.

We, the undersigned, call upon the St Andrews Botanic Garden Trust to urgently reconsider its actions and to embark on a process of meaningful conciliation that could see Nikki MacDonald reinstated as Education Officer.



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