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Jotter - Ice (cream) man cometh

Alex Salmond has often been accused of making reckless political promises he can't keep. Perhaps his primary education is to blame for this addiction.

For we learn from a new biography of the First Minister by journalist David Torrance that he stood for the SNP in a mock election at Linlithgow Primary and won a landslide victory - by calling for school milk to be replaced by ice cream. Truly a visionary. This could be the first recorded instance where Salmond had his opponents licked.

McGonagall lives

While on the subject of the SNP, let us hail a new makar for Scotland, one Donnie MacNeill. The death of Jimmy Reid moved the party activist to pen powerful verses in the Scots Independent: "So farewell then, Jimmy Reid. I was awfy sorry tae hear you wis deid."

It is too traumatic to continue.

What's in a name?

Classroom wits have already been busy, using the in-service days tacked on to the October week, to come up with a new name for the body that will replace - Parliament willing - Her Majesty's finest (inspectors) and Learning and Teaching Scotland.

The splendidly-titled Scottish Education Quality and Improvement Agency - SEQIA - could be confused with the massive evergreen tree, the sequoia, native to North America.

Those of a critical bent, of course, would want the organisation to do what it says on the tin and retain the flavour of inspection. So Learning and Surveillance Scotland has been suggested - giving birth to the pleasing Scottish acronym, LASS.

We could always turn for inspiration to the heads of the two organisations, Bill Maxwell and Bernard McLeary. Those of a certain age who remember TV's The Flowerpot Men will no doubt appreciate the Bill and Bern agency.

Crap news

We are grateful to Eric for alerting us to the latest education campaign. Eric, of course, stands for Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence - no kidding. It was inspired by research showing that 40 per cent of secondary pupils in the UK think their school toilets are too disgusting to use. Wittily, if inevitably, it is known as The Bog Standard campaign.

A day in the life

A new research project, which is investigating the teaching practice of academics, has asked them to keep a diary on the 15th of each month over the course of a year. We're not sure how much insight the Share project will provide on actual teaching. "Checking emails in my nightie," wrote one. "My headneck are killing me," said another. And one professor revealed: "A pretty standard day, consisting of doing highly professorial things such as photocopying."

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