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Jotter - From Barack to Bruce

United States president Barack Obama doesn't know what he's started. David Purdie, a senior policy manager for children in the Scottish Government, told a conference the other week that he'd thought about starting his presentation with Obama's "Yes we can" election slogan. And why wouldn't he, when his spiel was on the stirring topic: "Delivering the early years framework - re-visiting workforce roles and qualifications". Instead, he decided to opt for the even wiser words of another uplifting presence on the world stage, Bruce Robertson, Aberdeenshire's education supremo: "We made the system, so why can't we challenge it?" We suspect Robertson himself might have stuck with Obama: "Fit wye nae?"

So farewell then

Maureen Watt, the former minister for schools and skills, who was summarily dismissed by boss Salmond a couple of weeks ago, had been due to preside over a conference on the Scots language in education the day before her sacking, but didn't show: perhaps she knew something we didn't. Her place was taken by Linda Fabiani, the former culture minister, who must have known nothing since she was also reshuffled out the door. That'll teach ministers to accept invites from Scots language activists.

Marked man

The confessional Nat MSP Kenny Gibson (TESS last week) revealed to his parliamentary education committee colleagues: "My history teacher got fed up with giving me 20 out of 20 for my essays. He gave me 19.5 once, just to keep me on my toes." Ever alert to evidence of backsliding on attainment, senior chief inspector Graham Donaldson, quipped: "Was that man GTC-registered?"

Members only

While controversy swirled around education authorities for over-hastily closing schools in the recent blizzard, some pupils in one central belt school were creating a rather different stir. They decided to, ahem, extend the traditional snowman by gracing their playground with a "snowmember" (an extremely large snow sculpture of the male appendage). There was no mistaking the fruits of their enterprise, and the headteacher spent most of the afternoon indulging in a bout of seasonal castration.

The company they keep

Is Kofi Annan joining a prestigious band? Perhaps not. The former United Nations general secretary is the latest big catch for Adam Smith College to deliver the annual Adam Smith Lecture. Having PM Gordon Brown as its chancellor, it has previously landed Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, and Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England - three people whose standing is not of the highest in these troubled times. Watch out, Kofi.

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