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Don't dice with the devil;Letter

WITH performance-related pay and teacher appraisal in the news, it is worth noting that regulations for schoolmasters in Dunbar in 1670 recognised a higher authority "in the sight of Almighty God to whom they must render an account of their actions."

Extra hours appear to have been the norm: "That upon Saturdays ye masters are not to pursue their ordinary tasks but to give sacred lessons, to read the Proverbs, and get by heart the Shorter Catechism and Vincent's explanation of the same until 11 in ye forenoon; spending the rest of the day by disputing."

Staffroom rivalries were taboo: "That masters agree lovingly among themselves, and not in the least encroach upon one another's employments."

Character was all: "They must be neat in their clothes, having their hands and face washed, and their heads combed. They are to abstain from all profanity, swearing, lying, stealing, cursing, Sabbath-breaking, fighting, using irritating words, nick-naming, playing cards and dice, carrying hurtful weapons, throwing stones out of slings or with their hands, also throwing snowballs at one another or in the streets."

What paragons of virtue.

Colin Wakeling Old Stage Road, Fountainhall, Galashiels

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