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Stop breathing and you can retire early;Jotter

An important policy paper from one of Scotland's leading education authorities, Rest Easfrewshire, has arrived on our desk in a plain brown envelope. We thought it essential to share it with our readers.

* Current situation

At the present moment there is no uniformity in breathing in Rest Easfrewshire and it is hoped that this consultation paper will result in a breathing policy which will carry us into the next century.

* Stages of implementation

This breathing policy will have to be phased in gradually as money becomes available because, as we are all aware, money does not appear out of thin air. Breathing will therefore be established in the pre-five sector initially. Once established, it should progress through the primary and secondary sectors.

* Aims

Pupils should be encouraged to breathe at all times. Careful training to ensure that everyone breathes at the same time will lift levels of attainment. Early intervention will ensure pupils who are not breathing are identified as soon as possible and given appropriate support. Synchronised breathing should be attained by some pupils by the end of P7 and by most pupils by the end of S2.

* Staff development and training

At both primary and secondary stages, staff development will be offered in the form of modules. module 1 is likely to cover Breathing In and module 2 Breathing Out.

It is recognised that demands are greater in secondary schools because of the height of the buildings and the greater movement of personnel. Staff who have completed the first module successfully will be able to teach on the first floor. Progress to the second floor will require the satisfactory completion of module 2. An advanced module, Sustained Breathing, will be offered to staff wishing to teach on the top floor. A further module, The Use of Oxygen at High Altitudes, should satisfy the aspirations of those who aim higher still.

* The curriculum

It is suggested that subject areas should think of imaginative ways of taking the policy forward. For example, art departments could have a unit on "how to draw breath" while physics departments could think about "breathing space" and PE departments could work on "fleeting breath".

* Environmental and health issues

Staff who are finding it difficult to conform to the council's smoking policy will be offered counselling and required to complete the half-module Clean Breathing. In order to preserve the ozone layer once everyone is breathing, windows will be secured for minimal opening.

Synchronised breathing should result in a form of air-conditioning. Indeed, if everyone is breathing out hot air simultaneously, it should be possible to cut down on heating, thus saving considerable sums of money. It is recognised that some staff may have difficulty in keeping pace with these developments. Staff who stop breathing may be considered for early retirement on health grounds.

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