Archive for March 2012

It’s a jungle out there

Neil McLennan, a former Principal Teacher of History, is a Quality Improvement Officer in Aberdeen. In 2011 he won the Arnold Kemp prize, the Institute of Contemporary Scotland/Scottish Review Young Scot of the Year 2011 Award. He has now published Political Animals? Key Issues for Young Citizens, […]

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Time to break social divide mind-set

Time to break social divide mind-set

Last week Gillian Tee, Edinburgh’s Director of Children and Families announced that no secondary schools would close until after the present school building programme is completed in 2010-11.  The review of the school estate returns therefore to consideration of primaries, nurseries and community centres.  The three threatened […]

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Go back to the redrawing board

Go back to the redrawing board

At some point, old certainties begin to crumble. Since the days of Thatcher and the triumph of “the market”, parental choice has been taken as an unassailable given in educational politics. After eight years of a Labour Westminster Government, one of Scotland’s leading MPs said to me, […]

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All exams should be on the level

All exams should be on the level

The word on the streets has it that the Scottish Government is about to review SCQF levels 4 and 5. About time, too. Rumour also has it that the review will concentrate on Standard grades and Intermediate levels 1 and 2. The immediate cautionary note is that […]

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The Cinderellas of the profession

The Cinderellas of the profession

Lorraine Traylor recently retired as principal teacher of guidance at my school. When she retired, she was nominated by a group of students for the Radio Forth Teacher of the Year award. She won it. She was described as “the bedrock of the department, with a warm […]

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The voice of a new, young nation

The voice of a new, young nation

I recently returned from an exhilarating week, with a colleague and two students, at Barkly West High, our South African link school. At assembly on our first day a student lead the singing of the national anthem. The first verse was from Nkosi Sikele iAfrika, the ANC […]

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A discordant note in the ‘moral jazz’

A discordant note in the ‘moral jazz’

At a recent Scottish Executive summer school on leadership, Richard Holloway offered some radical insights. In a world without consensus on absolute codes of right and wrong, he said an ethical life required the application of “moral jazz” improvisation based on a solid ethical core. He advocated […]

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Edinburgh needs your support

Edinburgh needs your support

This is an appeal for the tolerance, friendship and support from my colleagues in the teaching profession in Scotland for the staff in 26 Edinburgh educational establishments, which are possibly facing closure. Falling rolls, outmoded buildings, financial pressures and the mismatch between available school places and demand […]

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True confidence is freedom to change

True confidence is freedom to change

At the end of term, I chaired the annual Wester Hailes Lecture, delivered by Carol Craig on Creating Confidence. During the informal chat after the lecture, a woman approached her to say that a friend who was unable to attend had given her a question. But, having […]

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Skills for all, not just wood-hewers

Skills for all, not just wood-hewers

The drive for a more vocational curriculum is not only a Scottish phenomenon but also being pursued across Europe. In Germany, the selective system makes such a move easy to accommodate. Quite simply, it is a trend that does not affect the gymnasium or selective secondary, and […]

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