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An inspiring start to the new term

It is good to see schools at least trying to put a spring in the steps of their staff at the beginning of another session. So full marks to Larbert High (page four). It was also quite a triumph for them to snap up an educational guru like Sir John Jones who actually resonated with teachers.

Gurus are not always in vogue, victims of the suspicion that they are not quite of this world.

Of course, many of the messages resonated because they were familiar - the necessity for high expectations, the importance of literacy, the centrality of the teacher, the power of encouragement. But, as comedian Frank Carson said, it's the way he tells them.

We wondered, however, how often it will be necessary to stick with the same refrain. Almost 60 years ago, that most eloquent of documents, the report of the Advisory Council on Scottish Education, noted the importance of relationships in schools. "Democrats are best produced in schools that are democratic in spirit and practice," it stated, "and no school can be that if its life is too straitly ordered by external authorities, or its headmaster (sic) is autocratic towards colleagues and pupils, or the staff is authoritarian in its dealings with boys and girls."

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