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Gone with the view

Gordon Mackenzie, the secondary heidies' heidie, was on top form when required to preside over the session with HMI at the heads' spring conference last week.

Faithfully following his text, he began: "We have a good working relationship with Her Majesty's Inspectorate - it says here." An inspector can be a friend to a headteacher, the man from Balwearie High continued, someone who brings a lot of joy - when they leave the school.

The four-person HMI team was then exposed to the audience for a bout of interrogation, the question session - "and hopefully a question and answer session", as Mackezie put it. We waited for the blood to seep on to the carpet, especially after Judith McClure, head of St George's School in Edinburgh, enquired whether anything would be lost after the Inspectorate became an executive agency in April.

"My view over the Forth," Douglas Osler, head HMI, responded, as he contemplates swapping his Edinburgh eyrie by Leith Docks for Saughton by the jail. Incidentally, the renaming of HMI from the inspectorate of schools to the "inspectorate of education in Scotland" brings us a new acronym of "IES".

And perhaps a potential headline: "EIS attacks IES."

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