Second coming

Last Thursday was John Dobie's last education committee before he retires as acting director of education in Edinburgh. Fulsome tributes were preceded by a lengthy discussion on the shortage of RE teachers, leading to a number of secondary schools failing to match the 5-14 guidelines.

Church rep Henry Philip came up with the startling thought that the salvation of a generation of "computer loners" could be RE, with its emphasis on people as social beings.

Another saviour quickly emerged in the form of Dobie himself. Elizabeth Maginnis, the education convener, revealed in answer to worries about teacher shortages that he had a certificate to teach RE "and could shortly become available".

His specialist study, for those of a curious bent, was St Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians.

George Rubienski, the teachers' rep on the committee, immediately welcomed the possibility of Dobie's "second coming" and reminded the director that, should this come to pass, "the support of the union will always be there for you".

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