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30 years ago

While reviewing a history of Edinburgh Academy, The TES Scotland's Scottish Diary (November 15, 1974) uncovered some strange but mostly sporting goings on at the venerable school. Forget tennis. Anyone for "hailes"?

Everyone writing or thinking about education has problems with elitism.

Magnus Magnusson is no exception. He concludes his excellent history of Edinburgh Academy, The Clacken and the Slate 1824-1974, with a look at the academy today - "An exceptional school for Scotland in that its examination system combines the best of both the Scottish and the English examinations and prepares boys for both Scottish and English universities . . ."

Magnusson's story of the academy's roots and fruits makes good reading.

Clackens, by the way, are wooden long-handled bats with round-headed ends like flat spoons used for the old Scots ball game hailes, akin to shinty, which the academy inherited from the High School and which is still played once a year in the academy yards.

The Clacken was also used . . . on pupil miscreants.

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