Blame the lecturer

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Colin McLean, the exams czar, might have wished his university lecturer had given him a fuller grasp of figures. McLean, head of the statistics branch in the former Scottish Education Department, was ironically one of those who failed to spot the amazing "7 per cent improvement" in Higher passes this year - the shortest-lived gain ever.

One of McLean's lecturers, we can reveal, was none other than one half of the Gillespie partnership. But we must emphasise that Alastair Gillespie only taught him maths; something obviously went wrong in the rest of the department.

So Judith Gillespie can continue berating McLean and the Executive over statistical ineptitude with a clear conscience, without any nagging doubt that her husband might have been indirectly responsible for it.

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