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Jotter - No mean city (council)

Aberdeen's reputation for parsimony must surely be misplaced. We report two significant about-turns which prove the point. The council has decided, after all, to replace broken windows in its schools, instead of just boarding them up.

And, as we reported last week, the council is considering free breakfasts for P1-3 pupils instead of free lunches. It's nothing to do with breakfast being a cheaper meal, of course. "One of the worst things possible is for a child to go to school on an empty stomach," depute council leader Kevin Stewart said.

Fit next - free elevenses, free brunches?

But everything has a price and there was a dark warning from Councillor Stewart after he and his colleagues agreed to let pupils and staff see out of the windows: "We will deal with the consequences to the budget by other means." Oh dear.

Gie's a break

The recent Scottish Learning Festival was a wondrous opportunity to enhance continuing professional development for the thousands of teachers who attended, while pedagogical cover was arranged in their classrooms back home.

Except, perhaps, for the two primary staff approached by Hodder Gibson's John Mitchell, endeavouring to interest them in copies of the company's new CPD books (published, we remind you proudly, in association with The TESS). "Oh, no thanks," one of them waved him away as he offered a sample title. "Not when we're on holiday."

Fortunately, the Education Secretary wasn't hovering.

Saintly progress

News of John Henry Newman's possible canonisation is eagerly awaited at the Bellshill school which bears his name. But it's not just Cardinal Newman High which is excited, as head Isabelle Boyd discovered when she was accosted by an elderly lady with an ear for ecumenical hot gossip about beatification and such. "I heard about Cardinal Newman," she confided. "They dug him up and he's getting beautified."

Awaiting the signal

Timetables are second nature to Stuart Maxwell, heidie of Eastwood High. But, following the recent signallers' strike, he had to deal with a different set of timetables, working out when and if the dreaded school train to Neilston would run or not. "This was timetabling with a whole new meaning," Maxwell commented, as he basked in the inevitable soubriquet of the Fat Controller.

Spectre at the feast

The man never goes away: Chris Woodhead, former head of Ofsted in England. Tim Brighouse, his sworn enemy, told a Scottish audience recently that "his lasting contribution to education south of the border was to turn 'satisfactory' into 'unsatisfactory'".

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