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Jotter - Minister named (and shamed)

Junior education minister Keith Brown does not know whether he is coming or going these days, as he confessed (more or less) at a skills event in Edinburgh last week.

He was grateful to the organisers for endeavouring to keep him right, with his title emblazoned on the big screen. Alas, they got it wrong. He was not minister for schools and lifelong learning, he advised them, but minister for skills and lifelong learning. Before that of course, he had been minister for schools and skills - two words which, uttered by certain Scottish accents, can sound rather similar.

Incidentally, young Brown has been at it again. We fingered him a few weeks ago as the first culprit in our new series keeping a close eye on the number of times voice is given to the hackneyed phrase "our greatest resource is our people". He said exactly that again last week.


HMIE smokes them out

Word has reached us from a secondary visited by the inspectorate that the education watchdogs are employing ever more cunning tactics to unearth the truth.

As they sat down with sixth years, they asked two searching questions. The first was whether the senior pupils were sporting their blazers specially for the inspection week, and the second was where the smokers' corner was. Her Majesty's finest didn't say if they were seeking the corner for their own use, or mounting a fearless investigation to find out whether health- promoting school strategies were working.

To boldly go

Fetterangus Primary head Jockie Blackie (aka John Black) is a renowned speaker of the Doric, we hear. So it was with some trepidation that one of his colleagues was told he had hit the newspapers in the company of "that Star Wars man".

On further investigation, this reference to film producer George Lucas turned out to be a piece (in English) about one of Blackie's current passions - the state of Glow in the 32 local authorities, an initiative which Lucas has famously praised, er, to the heavens.

There are some in Aberdeenshire, however, who think the connection between "Jockie" and George Lucas is fitting, as locals have often been heard to ask: "What planet is he on"? We're sure it is meant kindly.


We apologise profusely to the shy and retiring Ian Graham, principal of John Wheatley College in Glasgow's east end. Last week's issue neglected to quote his critical comments about the Scottish Funding Council in full, viz: "They're not noted for joined-up thinking. They are noted for non- joined-up thinking and 2020 hindsight".

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