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Jotter - Getting his just deserts

Bart Biagini, retired member of Her Majesty's finest (inspectorate) and of South Lanarkshire's finest (directorate), has found a new life checking out the schools of Dubai. Heaven knows how he copes with hazards such as visiting the beach before the first school bell of the day rings, but the bold Bart and inspector colleagues decided that they wanted to see a little more of the country and heard that a desert oasis was just the thing to see.

Off they went on their day off to discover the oasis as promised, but they were far from impressed at its state of dereliction, proclaiming it to be "just like Govan". All of which shows the true grit of Scottish inspectors: they can sniff out dereliction, even in one of the world's richest states.

New SNP maths

Hard on the heels of the headlines about 65 per cent of trainee teachers not being able to do P7 maths, the following is circulating in primary staffrooms: An education minister says that 18 pupils into one teacher won't go. Calculate the pupil-teacher ratio in P1-3 only where X = the likely budget cuts in your authority, Y = the mathematical ability of next year's NQTs and A = the Scottish Government's latest estimate of the actual number of teachers in schools.

If in doubt, hand to a P7 pupil for the solution.

Sir Humphrey

Scotland's top mandarin, Sir John Elvidge, was at his Yes Minister best the other week when he answered questions in a pre-recorded interview played to a national conference on public-sector cuts (and no, he wasn't absent because he was not allowed to claim the taxi fare; he had been called away on urgent business).

Asked by interviewer Keith Aitken about the much-derided Scottish Futures Trust, Sir John explained: "The Scottish Futures Trust is not a mechanism to deliver a particular solution. It is a mechanism for delivering new solutions."

Why didn't we think of that?

Word from the wise

"Is it better to be singled or married?" the teacher asked. According to nine-year-old Anita: "It's better for girls to be single, but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them."

Another fiver please

As a newspaper of record, The TESS is assiduous in correcting inaccuracies. We should like to draw readers' attention to an error in John Samson's letter on January 29. The penalty for submitting late appeals to the Scottish Qualifications Authority is not pound;50, as he stated, but pound;55. We apologise to the authority for any distress or embarrassment this may have caused.

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