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526 meetings to go

Bart McGettrick, soon to be without one of his many night-shift jobs after the demise of the Higher Still staff development group, is not one to let the grass grow under his feet.

If merger talks with Glasgow University go as planned, the principal of St Andrew's College will take charge in due course of the noble "St Andrew's Institute of the University of Glasgow". The title of the sainted Professor Bart has yet to be decided.

This will truly canonise him as one of the great and the good of Scottish education. Indeed, this is the very phrase of welcome he employed to describe Catholic school heads and other senior staff attending his Bearsden fastness last week to discuss Higher Still. "You may therefore be surprised at your own presence here," he revealed.

Another great and good person dignifying the occasion was Philip Banks, newly installed as HM chief inspector for 14-plus education, aka the Higher Still programme. Banks had a testing time having to be himself and someone else: Douglas Osler, the Inspectorate's chief of chiefs, who had been summoned from his duties as opening speaker to the presence of ultimate greatness - the Secretary of State.

Banks succeeds Ron Tuck who, while never called upon to impersonate Osler, did conduct his fair share of public meetings in the cause of Higher Still.

"Only 526 meetings to go," McGettrick informed Banks.

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