Archive for March 2012

True meaning of bureaucracy is lost

I worked briefly in the City of Edinburgh’s Education Department when it was still known by that simple and meaningful title.  If I was, at that time occasionally, accused of being a bureaucrat, I accepted the title with some equanimity, pride even.  Any complex organisation required a […]

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Parents should inform, not dictate

No school in Scotland would deny that co-operation between school and parents is key to young people learning effectively. Parents who read with their young children instil habits to support a lifetime of reading. Parents who value learning encourage their children to do the same. Behaviour management […]

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Religious schooling has its price

Alex Salmond recently made explicit his support for the Scotland’s present system of denominational schools and discussed the possibility of extending ‘faith’ schools from the RC sector and the solitary Jewish school to a wider range of religions.  There is a proper debate about whether that would […]

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Let them shine outside

Let them shine outside

There’s a cruel irony that as Curriculum for Excellence is reprioritising education outside the classroom, the combination of the drive for exam success and current financial cuts is having the opposite effect.   Outdoor Education teachers have largely disappeared and the focus on exams militates against anything unorthodox. […]

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An Interview with Tam Dalyell

An Interview with Tam Dalyell

From 1962 until 2005 Tam Dalyell represented firstly West Lothian, then Linlithgow, as Member of Parliament.  In 2001 he succeeded Edward Heath as Father of the House, the longest serving MP in parliament.  His autobiography, ‘The Importance of Being Awkward’, dedicated to “the men and women of […]

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Shakespeare and Scotland – Yes!

Shakespeare and Scotland – Yes!

Shakespeare and Scotland – Yes! The  current National Library of Scotland exhibition is entitled Beyond Macbeth: Shakespeare in Scottish collections. It includes a selection of Shakespeare texts, from original folios to twentieth century art deco publications, which splendidly illustrate the book maker’s art.  It also provides a set […]

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National Library exhibits ‘The Bridge’

National Library exhibits ‘The Bridge’

National Library exhibits ‘The Bridge’ I’ve always enjoyed the National Library of Scotland.  It has an atmosphere of serious study. Yet as well as a place for serious study, the NLS has a popular side which is also a pleasure.  Its exhibitions make knowledge accessible.  They offer […]

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I want to wave my magic wand

A few weeks ago I met four sixth year students at one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious private schools, one which, despite my reservations about private schooling, I admire enormously.  The purpose was an evaluation of their course choice experience.  We were told they were representative of their […]

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We are making progress to a kinder, more tolerant Scotland

Brian Fitzpatrick’s thoughtful piece (8 March 2012) was a welcome rebuttal of the intemperate comments of Cardinal O’Brien. I liked his description of the broad Catholic consensus for ‘tolerance on social issues’.  My hunch is that his description is likely accurate although it is a broad consensus with […]

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Nina de la Mer, 4 a.m. : review

Nina de la Mer, 4 a.m. : review

Nina de la Mer was born in East Kilbride. She studied modern languages at the University of Sussex in Brighton, where she now lives with her husband and daughter. She has also lived for short spells in London, Brussels, Paris and Hamburg. Earlier this month, she appeared […]

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