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Jotter - Rollicking good read

The Government's decision to get pupils sitting literacy and numeracy tests in S3 rather than S4 cannot come soon enough. Among the 1,800 responses to the consultation on the new qualifications are anonymous "respondants" - gloriously repeated for each of the 345 (roughly) nameless submissions. Clearly, literacy is an important matter, and not just in S3.

The respondents turn out to be good fun. The staid replies from schools and education authorities give way to more direct offerings: "Your driving instructor shouldn't be taking you for your driving test" (supports external assessment) and "How to keep warm this winter" (subjects to be offered in a winter exam diet) and "R U Kidding?" (starting the new curriculum in 2009).

Go on, have a reed.

Role reversal

The collegiate view of HM's finest (inspectors) continues apace. Some bodies, such as the education directorate, even welcome inspectors into their ranks - Ken Greer in Fife, Maureen McKenna in Glasgow and Chris Webb in Perth and Kinross, to name a few.

One of their new colleagues was musing at the recent conference of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland that they must require some operation to enable them to work inside the inspectorate - like having their soul removed.

"But like a vasectomy," suggested another, "it can sometimes be reversed."

Blank cheque

It can be a tricky business moving from one government ministry to another, especially if your first brief was in the Treasury. But Ed Balls, the man now in charge of schools, children and families in England, managed it with aplomb.

According to Chris Pond of the Financial Services Authority, who was at a financial education conference in Murrayfield last week, when Mr Balls worked in the Treasury he sent a letter to the education minister making the case for financial education in schools, emphasising how important it was and encouraging heavy investment.

The following week, Mr Balls was made education minister, arrived in his office, opened the letter he had sent, agreed with every word and invested Pounds 11.5 million in financial education.

No half measures

You have to admire people who never give up. Cameron Halfpenny is still venting his outrage at the publishers of Sociology and Scotland, who, he says, are still refusing to correct about 300 mistakes, including that the First World War took place between 1814-18.

Discussions must now go to the "highest level", he said, and so the editor of the Business and Professional Magazine of the Year (aka The TESS) and Alex Salmond have been notified.

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