Archive for March 2012

Oh Danny boy, ’tis you must go

Oh Danny boy, ’tis you must go

After working there since it opened in 1978, Danny Costello, senior depute at Wester Hailes Education Centre, retires at the end of June. He’ll curse me for this, but my excuse is that it’s a tribute to a generation of teachers. Danny was a PE teacher who […]

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Choose your allies well, new minister

Choose your allies well, new minister

As readers peruse this column, the Scottish electorate will have voted but the counting will be incomplete. The shape of the new executive will be uncertain as the parties negotiate arrangements. An education minister will not have been appointed. Hopefuls will be awaiting their opportunity. Let me offer […]

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Stop weighing the pig and fatten it

Stop weighing the pig and fatten it

In the past five years, my school has been inspected (plus the follow-through inspection) by HMIE and reviewed by the local authority. The inspectors have evaluated our work as part of a national review of guidance, as part of a national review of support for probationers, and […]

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In search of faith, hope and love

In search of faith, hope and love

In the same week as Tony Blair met representatives of the Scottish business community and heard their perceptions of Scottish education, and the widening gap between the rich and poor was reported (and derided by the Prime Minister), Norman Drummond addressed the issue of journeying towards a […]

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A question of social values

A question of social values

The decision by Ruth Kelly, the Communities Minister in England, to enrol her son at a private school comes at the same time as the Centre for Policy Studies report, Three Cheers for Selection, argues for a return to selective schooling. Let’s eliminate the red herring about […]

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Let’s hold on to family values

Let’s hold on to family values

It was a wet, windy, December Monday. Perhaps that, perhaps the passing years, but as I listened to the news, I found myself, amazingly, identifying with former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith. He reminded me that children from a broken home are twice as likely to have […]

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No boasting please, we’re Scottish

No boasting please, we’re Scottish

No boasting please, we’re Scottish   Peter Peacock’s description of “the staffroom cynics, the refuseniks, those not taking responsibility” sums up the small-minded minority who have cat-called Susan Ward’s UK Teacher of the Year award. We know them. Most staffrooms have a few. They belittle others’ achievements. […]

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State of the Union

State of the Union

  State of the Union   We asked an SR panel two questions:  (a) Do you think the break-up of the UK is now likely? (b) Would you welcome it?   Alex Wood Head teacher An improved SNP vote and a government more likely to achieve a […]

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Above the dog-fight: Scotland can ill-afford to lose the Greens

Above the dog-fight: Scotland can ill-afford to lose the Greens

As the Scottish election rumbles on, one outcome is already certain: Robin Harper will no longer grace Holyrood. That will be Scotland’s, and democracy’s, loss.  Harper has added an ethical dimension, missing from much of Scottish politics and a style of engagement – courteous, concerned with issues […]

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An ethical emptiness

An ethical emptiness

Tommy Sheridan’s trial verdict marks the end of a long era in Scottish politics. Despite the hegemony which Scottish Labour seemed to enjoy, the socialist left, in its different guises, was an ever present irritation. Throughout the 30s and 40s the ILP provided Labour with a popular […]

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