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Keep it in the family

Family references were also to the fore in remarks to the same gathering by Alan McLean, the noted psychologist and regular TES Scotland contributor.

In his usual understated style, the Chekhov lookalike said he was known in his house as a world expert on behaviour management.

"My kids know that because I told them," McLean said.

Recalling how he had once invested some cash in a guitar for one of his children, only to see it discarded as interest quickly waned, he found himself fuming: "I've spent pound;100 on that guitar and you've just thrown it in the bin. Then I thought, 'wait a minute, you're a psychologist and you're supposed to know how to deal with situations like that - and you sound just like their mother'."

Henceforth, these public contributions should be known as the "Brian Boyd factor", after the prominent educationist whose frequent references to his son Chris's educational experiences have become a cause cel bre.

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