Archive for the Social Issues Category

Whys & wherefores of illegitimacy

The traditional view of the Victorian age is of tightly-laced family structures.  That would be even more so, it might be thought, in Presbyterian Scotland.  The truth was different however, as Alex Wood demonstrates. Perhaps surprisingly illegitimacy was higher in Scotland (7.8% in 1855) than in England […]

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School’s out for summer

England’s summer riots have left a few smug grins on Scots faces.  That they have not occurred here is no cause for major rejoicing.  I don’t defend these events but they had a certain warped sense of carnival.  Somehow that ebullience doesn’t quite fit the Scottish psyche.  […]

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We all need the optimism of the Cardiff cabbie

We all need the optimism of the Cardiff cabbie

I was at a seminar on school self-evaluation in Cardiff. Inevitably, school evaluation is overwhelmingly based on statistics: test scores, examination attainment, numbers entering higher education – all valid measures of school success. It was useful and stimulating. It even occasionally looked beyond these quantitative success measures. […]

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BILLIE SMITH: Fancy Being Paid for This Review

Isobel Smith, known to all as Billie, was one of the first Guidance teachers in the early 1970s and became Assistant Headteacher of one of Edinburgh’s new comprehensives. She has recounted her experiences in a humane and humorous book, Fancy Being Paid for This. The title speaks volumes […]

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JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY Columba 1400, based on Skye, is a social enterprise dedicated to leadership development

In December, after a rigorous selection and preparation process, thirteen Wester Hailes students and three staff (two teachers and our school librarian) spent a week at Staffin on Skye, the base of Columba 1400, a social enterprise devoted to leadership development and to releasing the potential of […]

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CONFUSION REIGNS IN OUR COMPLICATED NEW COUNCIL WORLD Scotland’s councils have lost their way as political fudges and bafflingly-titled departments undermine public confidence

CONFUSION REIGNS IN OUR COMPLICATED NEW COUNCIL WORLD  Scotland’s councils have lost their way as political fudges and bafflingly-titled departments undermine public confidence

The last decade has seen major changes in Scottish local government structures. The managerial gurus wanted lean and hungry organisations.  But Scotland’s councils face a crisis of public confidence. Council Committees were once functional.  They related in a fairly simple manner to departments, Housing, Planning, Education, and […]

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Never Give Up – say North Edinburgh Social History Group

Never Give Up – say North Edinburgh Social History Group

Caroline Park House, Craigroyston House, Broomhall, Muirhouse Mansion, elegant  semi-rural residences on the edge of Edinburgh, all stand today although none now serve their original purpose.  They populated an estate, stretching from Trinity to Cramond, owned by the Duke of Buccleuch, who had developed Granton Harbour……   […]

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ENSURING CHILDREN DON’T SUFFER FROM PARENTS’ MISTAKES Alex Wood on how schools can break the cycle of drug abuse

Teachers of my vintage have seen two generations of drug using youngsters pass through our hands.  In the early 1980s I taught a bright, lovely girl from a warm, caring family. Jenny (we’ll call her that) entered the local drug scene on leaving school.  On becoming aware […]

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LESSONS LEARNED BUT SOME CHALLENGES REMAIN Alex Wood calls for a rethink on parental choice and school catchment areas

This summer I retire as a head teacher.  Over these 39 years schools have changed, hugely, and mostly for the better.  In 1972, after graduation, I returned to Scotland and teacher training.  I did a teaching practice in a Leith Junior Secondary.  Comprehensive education was not uniform.  […]

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Learning from experience: the impact of poverty on schools and learning

Learning from experience: the impact of poverty on schools and learning

For so many Scottish youngsters living in poverty, education can be a passport to change.  Every school in Scotland has learners who live in poverty.  Most schools will have a small proportion of their population who find it hard to afford school trips or always be in […]

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