Archive for the Education Category

THINKING ABOUT SNOW by Judith McClure

THINKING ABOUT SNOW by Judith McClure

Judith McClure, headteacher at St George’s School in Edinburgh from 1994 until 2009, was enormously respected by comprehensive heads for her frequent (but unique) cooperation with their sector. Her memoir, ‘Thinking About Snow’ (published by Maclean Dubois) explores the moulding of such an astute and admired educationalist. […]

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The Attainment Challenge: What is the purpose of testing?

The Attainment Challenge: What is the purpose of testing?

Forty-three years ago, August 1973, I was a fresh-faced probationer, attending my first in-service day of my first teaching post in one of Edinburgh’s newly created comprehensive schools. The first agenda item, after the introduction of new staff, was the Higher and O grade results. The rigorous […]

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Schooling Scotland

Schooling Scotland

Danny Murphy was headteacher in Crieff High, Lornshill High and McLaren Academy. He was crucial in establishing the Scottish Qualification for Headship and has written thoughtfully but incisively on Scottish educational dilemmas. His new work, Schooling Scotland (Argyll Publishing) is the latest in the Postcards from Scotland […]

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A bitterness over the reforms?

A bitterness over the reforms?

In the supermarket recently I was surveyed on my shopping experience. After the usual questions about ranges of products and value for money, the employee from the marketing company carrying out the survey, having checked my age, finally asked my occupation. “Retired, at least semi-retired,” I responded. […]

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Advice for young teachers

Advice for young teachers

Forty-two years ago, having newly graduated, I commenced a post-graduate Diploma in Education course at Edinburgh University to qualify as an English teacher. My older daughter, having worked in retail management for the five years since graduating, has newly started the same process at Glasgow University. I […]

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Education a key battleground in debate on Scottish independence

Education a key battleground in debate on Scottish independence

The Scottish and English education systems have always been separate. Knox’s aim of a school in every parish was never comprehensively achieved but the concept of education accessible to all children irrespective of family wealth has long been part of the Scottish educational tradition. Scottish universities were […]

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Snake oil and ladders

Snake oil and ladders

The assumption is often made that good schools always have good leaders and poor leaders always create poor schools. A recent seminar in Glasgow addressed the issue, asking what leadership is and how we can ensure good leadership. Former headteacher Danny Murphy insisted that leadership had been […]

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The teaching of creationism

The teaching of creationism

Scottish educationalists have always looked to England and English education. We look for whatever is best in the English system and seek to avoid its occasional errors. Recently, we have watched much that emanates from the English Department for Education with trepidation, especially if it directly articulates […]

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Are you on your staff’s side?

Are you on your staff’s side?

“At a time of great transition in our profession, many teachers appear to be at their breaking point. In my home state, a teacher recently published a letter to the editor of our largest newspaper, explaining why she is thinking of quitting her job. How can leaders […]

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Kicking the hornet’s nest

Kicking the hornet’s nest

There’s a flurry of debate in Scottish education over standards. The suggestion is that they are being dumbed down. The surprise is that the debate’s catalyst was a letter to the press from a school student. S4 student, Flora Scarabello, wrote to The Herald last month (on […]

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