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Don't mess with the jannies;Jotter;Back Paige

DUNDEE IS renowned for the contribution of the three Js to the city's history - jute, journalism and jam. We are delighted to add a fourth: jannies.

Following a recent incident at Lawside Academy, the janny was fired after a dust-up with a pupil and then reinstated. Against their natural instincts, Jotter hears, his fellow jannies took part in a training day before Christmas and were presented with a workbook listing possible pupil crimes and punishments.

Splitting into groups they considered the options, and showed apparent unawareness of the European Court of Human Rights or the United Nations Declaration on Children's Rights.

A possible 16 misdemeanours were tackled, such as "A five-year-old child punches a classmate at school" and "An 11-year-old child slips out of school and spends the day in a betting arcade".

Possible solutions included "Slap the child hard", "Throw whatever object you happen to have at hand at the child", "Bite the child" and "Lock the child in a cupboard for 15 minutes".

Options such as "Explain firmly and calmly why you are angry with the child" were not popular.

More training surely lies ahead.

On the cards?

Christmas cards have been tidied away but the Educational Institute of Scotland is still puzzled over one sent from Australia and addressed to David Eaglesham, who is more usually found at the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, of which he is general secretary.

Ronnie Smith, his opposite number at the EIS, said: "The merger may not be dead - is this a forecast for 1999?" One card Smith did not receive was from John Dennis, a Dumfries secondary teacher and decidedly left-wing member of the union's executive council.

Dennis remains miffed that the union ditched its Higher Still boycott, a fact reflected in his Christmas card to the 11 other hardliners who voted to retain it.

A berobed figure stands before a rising pyramid in the Egyptian desert. "Great Xmas tidings for you lot," he barks at the minions. "King Tony's minister says it's got to be Higher Still and the EIS executive agrees."

It looks like being a happy new year at the next executive council meeting of the "Educated Industrial Slaves".

Write stuff At least the pupils seem to follow teacher union policy. A P4 correspondent to Linlithgow primary's newspaper writes: "I think that class sizes should be smaller, so that the teachers can spend more time teaching each one of us. This would help us to learn a lot more so that when we grow up we will get better jobs."

More evidence surely for the Millennium Review.

Highballed Brian Monteith, the Tories' exceptionally blue education spokesman and PR specialist, never misses an open goal.

His little festive soiree, coming just before Tony Blair lost a minister or two, featured a list of colourful "Cabinet" cocktails. You could choose, depending on your taste, from Tony's Tequila Sunset, Brown's Budget Bols Up, Prescott's One for the Road, Magarita Beckett and a Dour Dewar.

In case you're wondering after this week's revelations, the Foreign Secretary was commemorated by Gaynor's Gargler. Perhaps the favourite tipple was Jack Straw's Pinochet Colada - a blend of tequila, orange juice and galliano liqueur. Even the law lords could swallow that.

Justice in reverse It was a particularly unfortunate end of term for one senior member of staff at a central Scotland secondary who sought solace in rather too many refreshments after work but insisted on driving.

He was doing fine until he missed his turn-off on the dual carriageway. In the darkness, he opted to reverse.

Not a wise decision as the crunch confirmed. The flashing lights of the constabulary added to his despair.

The officer tapped on his window and surprisingly invited him merely to tender his licence at a police station in the morning.

"I'm very sorry about that, sir," the constable apologised. "The driver behind is way over the limit. He's so drunk, he swears you reversed into him."

Taking a hike We are delighted to note the National Association for Outdoor Education has now become the Association for Outdoor Learning, or AfOL.

Eff all to report really.

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