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Jotter - Insomniacs for excellence

Who says Scottish teachers are not searching for experiences - oh, and outcomes, of course? According to Learning and Teaching Scotland, its Curriculum for Excellence website has been visited by 40,000 people who have looked at 508,000 web pages between them since the final documents were put up there on April 2.

Most of the activity, according to LTS boss Bernard McLeary, was between 10am and 3pm. Strangely, however, 500 people logged on at midnight - "490 were from HMIE," he joked, "but I don't know who the other 10 were."

However, the interest in the guidance did not end there - 300 people logged on at 1am, 200 at 2am and 500 at 7am.

Chas, but not Dave

Yesterday and today, we have been spending time with CHAS, the Catholic Headteachers' Association of Scotland. It's appropriate that we were invited this year since the conference theme was "the inclusive Catholic school".

There was no shortage of variety. A talk by Michael McGrath, who heads the Scottish Catholic Education Service, entitled "Shining the Light of Christ in the Catholic School", was followed by one on violence reduction, by John Carnochan of Strathclyde Police.

Living design

The staging of the first apprenticeship "summit" last week was heavy with symbolism. Some bright spark had the idea that it should be held in the Signet Library in Edinburgh's Parliament Square. This allowed Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop to point out that the design work had been completed by an apprentice - one William Playfair - who took over when his master died, and went on to become the foremost Scottish architect of his age.

Hyslop also revealed that every apprentice who worked in the Signet Library in the last 200 years has left his name, date and profession in a room in the building.

An apprenticeship in presentational skills coming up?

Pigs will fry

In these days when "swine" is on everyone's lips - but, hopefully, nowhere else - it is salutary to learn from China that pigs can make a vital contribution to schools. Chunchang Nanlu Middle School, in the tropical island province of Hainan, used a poverty alleviation fund grant of around Pounds 700 to buy 36 piglets, which pupils fed three times a day.

Although parents were not happy, they did acknowledge the school was being financially astute. Pork prices have been soaring in China because of the increasing costs of feeding pigs and an outbreak of blue ear disease. One parent told the Beijing News: "Each pig can be sold for 1,600 yuan (Pounds 112) with each class splitting the profit of 1,000 yuan (Pounds 70), so it is advantageous for the school to continue raising pigs."

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