Archive for the Review Category

Challenging Scottish education

John MacBeath, Cambridge’s Emeritus Professor of Education Leadership and formerly Director of Strathclyde University’s Quality in Education Centre, has written a challenging piece on Scottish school effectiveness.  In ‘Challenging the Orthodoxy’, his chapter in School Effectiveness and Improvement*, Professor MacBeath warns against idealising  Scottish education. He also […]

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The Chieftains: Voice of Ages

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s great folk music band, The Chieftains. Today only Paddy Moloney remains of the original Chieftains but the tradition marches on, changes but remains true to itself. The new album, Voice of Ages, fulfils that wonderful promise of merging tradition and modernity and […]

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There are a few works of art which have entered the popular imagination and are known far beyond the world of art-lovers: The Mona Lisa for certain, Guernica perhaps, and, almost certainly, Edvard Munch’s The Scream. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is currently hosting an […]

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Outdoor education

When I started teaching in the early 1970s Outdoor Education was being introduced in a handful of progressive schools.  One of them was Edinburgh’s Craigroyston High School, led by the charismatic Hugh MacKenzie.  MacKenzie was an advocate for Outdoor Education, partly because of his own experience as […]

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World Out of Mind

“Call it scientific romance, science fantasy, speculative fantasy or science fiction,” says the National Library of Scotland’s introduction to its current exhibition,World Out of Mind, which challenges every stereotype of science fiction, and runs until the 30th of June……   The above article was first published in […]

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Flower power at the Line

Linda Farquharson’s Flower Power linocuts lead a new exhibition at Linlithgow’s Line Gallery. Born inAberdeen, Linda studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College inDundeewhere she won the Sekalski prize for Printmaking.  After graduating in 1986 Linda worked f   or several years as a commercial illustrator undertaking commissions for […]

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Axing guidance teachers will create a toll that’s just too high

Isobel Smith, known to everyone as Billie, was one of Edinburgh’s first guidance teachers and subsequently a long-serving assistant head, in charge of what would now be called “pupil support”, in a secondary serving one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. I spent the first part of my […]

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Much to gain from improved teaching methods

In 1979 Michael Rutter published the seminal book Fifteen Thousand Hours. That’s the amount of time a child spends in school, and his assertion seems obvious, but in 1979 it was radical. Different schools influence differentially how well children perform: some schools do better than others. The […]

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Litmus test for the harder side of Scottish life

Carol Craig’s The Tears that Made the Clyde is a trenchant critique of contemporary Glasgow society and, by extension, of all Scotland. Despite her concern and anger at the waste of human potential our past has created, she offers no simple cures but tries to see the […]

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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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