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Jotter - Cashing in on magic

As the long-anticipated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released last week, accountants Baker Tilly did not miss a trick. They issued a press release which noted that Hogwarts school would need to give out almost Pounds 1 million of bursaries to trainee wizards and witches who cannot afford the fees, to allow it to retain its charitable status.

As a 600-pupil private boarding school in Scotland, they said it would need to satisfy the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator's public benefit test to be recognised and registered as a charity.

"By providing Pounds 1m of bursaries, headmaster Albus Dumbledore and his governors would be satisfying this test," Baker Tilly told us in a shameless plug for their clients.

Just to make sure we got the point, the statement went on: "As many private schools across the UK struggle with rising costs from suppliers and parents looking to save money due to the recession, the ability to magic up the necessary bursaries could be far from straightforward as Hogwarts starts to feel the financial pinch."

Anyone here seen Harry?

We hear of one primary school where the headteacher was handing out certificates at the end-of-term assembly. She came to those for five children who had managed a record of perfect attendance all year - not a single day off.

"Would Harry from P1 please come up and collect his certificate and the certificates for the other pupils who have perfect attendance, please," she announced.

A pause ensued - "Harry?" Another pause - "Oh, he's not here today."

Engineering change

We reported last week on Judith Gillespie's chagrin as the parent stalwart expressed her "utter dismay" at being shoved off the board of the Scottish Qualifications Authority by Willie Gallagher, former boss of the Edinburgh trams project - certainly not the most obvious of replacements.

But we can reveal that the SQA has a cunning plan. Gallagher, who runs an engineering company, is being joined as a new face on the board by Kenneth McKay, whose credentials may be better as acting head of Preston Lodge High in East Lothian - but whose initial profession was also that of engineer.

What could be on the SQA's plate, we wonder, that requires people with an eye for design?

On deaf ears

You can tell he doesn't like it. A contributor to The TESS online forum came away from an event on A Curriculum for Excellence, declaring it "the biggest waste of time since the Newcastle United PR man said during the Joe Kinnear interview: `What is said in this room, lads, stays in here'".

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