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Points of disorder

* "Sorry about that, old boy" emerged as a conference theme. Frank Pignatelli, education director in the disbanded Strathclyde Region, confessed his sins before taking Douglas Osler, former senior chief inspector, to task for his criticisms of the curriculum. These were spelt out in a TES Scotland article three weeks ago.

It was left to Walter Humes, the laconic education professor at Strathclyde University, to analyse the behaviour of bosses who sought to distance themselves from policies they helped to promote. "That's an observation that could also be applied to Frank, of course," he quipped. Mr Osler's views, Professor Humes said, should not have come as a surprise since advanced handwashing appeared to be a requirement of civil service entry. A more charitable explanation was that at an early stage in his career, Mr Osler had been lead inspector for religious education. "To quote the good book, joy shall there be in Heaven for one sinner that repenteth."

* Mr Pignatelli is never averse to the odd gibe and referred to the sartorial elegance of Mike Doig, head of Bearsden Academy and outgoing HAS president. Such were post-McCrone salaries these days, his suits came from the "Armani and Navy Store".

* Gordon Hewitt, professor of international business at Michigan University, is better known in Scotland as a former presenter of BBC Scotland's Sportscene programme. Now he dines with Bill Gates of Microsoft.

Professor Hewitt told heads he had flown into St Andrews after addressing 300 Swiss actuaries. "They desperately wanted to be accountants but didn't have the personality."

He had also been speaking to 3,000 bankers where the principle of life boiled down to 363: buy funds at 3 per cent, sell at 6 per cent and home for three. "You've got it wrong," replied a Spanish banker. "In Spain, it is 12012."

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