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Jotter - Orwellian, you think

We should never take anything for granted. In the reports on performance in this year's exams (p10-11), the external assessor for English noted that candidates struggled with option eight in Standard grade writing. This was on the theme of "Big Brother is Watching You" which, it seems, some pupils took literally to refer to older members of their families. As the Sunday Post might say, it makes you think.

No gunpowder plot

To the annual Science and the Parliament event in the highly appropriate setting of Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. We're sure it was nobody's idea of a joke, or even tempting fate, that it was held on November 5 - and organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The RSC - not the Shakespearean lot - likes to honour tomorrow's young scientists and, indeed, they have awards so to do. One, for outstanding performance in Higher chemistry, went to Alison Davies of The High School of Glasgow. Alison was even more outstanding in her Higher maths - she got 100 per cent. But, alas, as RSC president Dave Garner mischievously noted, "mathematicians were either too poor or too poorly organised to give her a prize." Collegiate or what?

Taking the high road

So now it's settled. Kirkcaldy High's loss is Westminster's gain, as heidie Lindsay Roy has packed his bags and landed in the big smoke as Labour MP for Glenrothes.

By-elections are always occasions for hyperbole, of course, and SNP contests with Labour are particularly fertile ground. The Nats lost no time in making a link to that other election last week. SNP MSP Christina McKelvie even managed to tie it all in to free school meals. Seizing on comments by Fife Labour MSP Claire Baker that school meals should not be provided free for P1-3 kids, McKelvie commented (before the result): "Just as Americans voted for hope over fear, people in Fife have the choice tomorrow between the positive agenda of the SNP to deliver free school meals, or Labour's negative attempts to sabotage this excellent policy."

A bit of a stretch

Readers may recall the rows at schools in the United States and Canada when they introduced yoga exercises. The move alarmed some Christian parents who feared the stretching could turn their children into Hindus.

Massena High in New York State has hit on a neat solution which has been accepted by parents: the lessons will be called "relaxation" rather than yoga. "If opponents feel a name change solves the dilemma, I'm all for that," said Julie Reagan, president of the area's board of education.

'Twas ever thus in education.

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