Selkirk rocked by battle of the sermons

Tes Editorial

Selkirk High has been in bad odour with HMI which was none too happy to discover that "the school continues to emphasise the right of pupils to choose subjects freely". Whatever next?

Rector George Jack is not taking this lying down, telling the local paper that the Inspectorate is inflexible. Procedures must be appropriate to Selkirk, Jack declares. "It doesn't matter to me if they are not appropriate anywhere else, as long as they work here."

Among "unbalanced" elements in the Selkirk curriculum, apparently, is religious education. The school provides 55 minutes a week and HMI wants this upped to 82.

Jack comments: "Where are we to find this extra time for what is a non-examination subject. Should we just take it off maths? I don't think parents would be too pleased."

No Selkirk grace there.

David Stewart, Jack's predecessor, has stepped into the row with the help of a long memory. In a letter to the Southern Reporter, he recalls a conversation with a former district inspector who was making a farewell visit before he retired.

"You don't really think, do you, that I believed or agreed with all that stuff I passed on to you?" he is alleged to have told Stewart, who muses: "How many of today's inspectors feel the same way?" HMIs should be put on five-year contracts to keep them in touch with reality, he suggests.

Incidentally, Selkirk High was way out in front of Borders secondaries in the number of Higher passes last year and was the top performer for Standard grade Credit awards in 1995. Funny that.

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