Publications

‘Quite simply the most outstanding leader I have ever come across.’

This summer sees the retiral of one Scotland’s best known headteachers, Judith McClure of St George’s School in Edinburgh.  One of the most energetic of Scottish educationalists, Judith has led one of Scotland’s most prestigious schools since 1994.   Helen Mackie, her Depute, who is to succeed […]

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All about context

Creativity and Innovation in School Leadership: Realising the Potential of Curriculum for Excellence was the theme for this year’s Scottish International Summer School on School Leadership, again held in Edinburgh’s Royal College of Surgeons.   Bruce Robertson, Aberdeenshire’s Director of Education, stated that a much enhanced leadership […]

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Good prose is like a window pane

On the 24th January 1950, George Orwell died.  Orwell’s masterpieces, 1984 and Animal Farm, exposed the horror and the humbug of dictatorship.  He was also a jobbing writer, a journalist, who literally wrote for his living.  Writing was his trade and he treated it with enormous respect.  […]

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A great strength

Norman Drummond has been appointed visiting professor in educational leadership at Edinburgh University.    His inaugural professorial lecture challenged countless orthodoxies: “It is the belief that everyone matters, the unconditional positive regard for each and every pupil or member of staff and of the local community that […]

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A meeting of minds

The recent AGM of the Educational Institute of Scotland, Scotland’s largest teaching union, reflected the dilemmas facing contemporary Scottish education and suggests a stormy year ahead for Scottish schools.   Curriculum for Excellence, introduced by the previous Liberal-Labour Scottish Executive and continued by the SNP Scottish Government […]

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The child victims of our drugs problem

Between 250,000 and 300,000 UK children are estimated to be exposed to drug abuse in the home.  Some 60,000 Scottish under-16s live with a substance abusing adult.  There is evidence of parental substance abuse in 57% of social work case reviews of child abuse.  25% of children […]

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Education election

The Scottish Parliament elections are on 5th May.  The first debate on education took place in the National Gallery in Edinburgh last week.  Mike Russell, SNP Cabinet Secretary for Education, and the education spokespersons for the other four parliamentary parties (Labour’s Des McNulty, the Lib-Dems’ Margaret Smith, […]

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Four months on….

The result of May’s Scottish parliamentary election has shocked everyone, including it seems the triumphant SNP itself.  No-one believed that the additional member electoral system would ever produce an outright majority for one party but it did and did so spectacularly. For schools and teachers the SNP […]

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A sledgehammer to crack a nut

Society hits a crisis and the default position is to demand schools solve the problem. Internationally uncompetitive: make foreign languages compulsory for all.   Drugs addiction costing society too hefty a price: a compulsory drugs element in Personal and Social Education.  Too many obese kids: two hours compulsory […]

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McCormac: a head’s view

The McCormac review on Teacher Employment in Scotland has now reported.  Although it contains no great surprises, the details require some analysis. The report recommends the maintenance of teachers’ 35-hour working week but argues for those 35-hours to be averaged over a month or a term, avoiding […]

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