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Culloden revisited;Jotter

The ubiquity of Her Majesty's Senior Chief Inspector of Schools continues. Osler, of that ilk, was (as we reported last week) a star turn at the spring conference of the secondary heidies. We would expect no more of the key defender of Government policy - though, as Osler said himself, his job was not to defend official policy but explain it.

But it was his connections with Culloden Academy in Inverness that were more interesting. The school happens to be centre-stage at present because Derek McGinn, the head, is this year's president of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland.

It turns out that Osler has a sister who is McGinn's assistant head. So, he jested, the Inspectorate expects to receive regular reports on Culloden's progress towards meeting "national targets" - if that is an appropriate term to use in connection with a school whose name is associated with national massacre and humiliation.

Not only that, Osler continued, his nephews received their education at Culloden and his son spent four terms there while dad was resident inspector of Highland schools. Chez Osler at that time was on a site overlooking the Academy "where I could see all the comings and goings - more goings than comings this year, I suspect" (a reference, no doubt, to McGinn's frequent travels on HAS business).

McGinn did not seem quite sure what to make of this apparent hotline to the top. Suffice to say that McGinn was the only voice raised in, albeit moderate, defence of the target-setting policy. Now there's a funny thing.

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