At a time when The TESS is about to reach another milestone in its development to become a full Scottish product for the first time, it is tempting to look back and even to become insular. We will resist both, in this column at least. A retrospective can be found elsewhere (p7); as for insularity, it has never been a feature either of The TESS or of Scottish education itself.
Looking forward and looking to other countries are more productive activities. But to "look forward", in one of its senses, does not exactly bring an enjoyable sense of anticipation in the current economic climate. That is amply confirmed by our survey of council education budgets (p1), which is more likely to induce a sense of foreboding. The resilience of the Scottish teaching profession will be tested as never before, particularly when it is being asked to deliver a new curriculum without the essential resourcing. The contrast with private business could not be more stark: imagine a new product being brought to market with barely any investment.
Yet, if there is anything that the past decade has demonstrated, it is that teachers will go the extra mile in the most adverse conditions (whether it is through the snow or not - p3). Contrary to popular belief, they are not easily led into industrial strife, which tends to happen only when trust has completely broken down. We may be perilously close to that, as personal and professional disgruntlement combine: pension penury and under-investment in schools could be an explosive mix.
Nonetheless, we can say with confidence that the new TESS magazine which springs into life next week will have plenty of inspirational tales from the classroom to lift the spirits. We intend to continue with our mission to enable teachers to "do their job, stay on top of their job and find out about jobs".
Neil Munro, editor of the year (business and professional magazine) 2009.