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Take a pew

Nice to see that the Church of Scotland is growing in importance - as a rest home for those with a distinguished career.

As we walked into the conference of the Church's representatives on local education committees, God's waiting room sprang to mind; it was a Kirk session, after all.

There was George Ross, former general secretary of the Headteachers'

Association of Scotland and a member of the Church's education committee; Craig Duncan, former assistant general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association and church rep in Edinburgh; Sandy Glass, former rector of Dingwall Academy and church rep in Highland; and Ian Findlay, formerly of Aberdeen College of Education and the rep in Aberdeenshire.

Presiding avuncularly over it all was David Alexander, formerly senior depute director of education in Strathclyde and now convener of the Church's education committee as well as consultant extraordinaire. And not to mention Susan Leslie, formerly president of the Professional Association of Teachers, who heads the Kirk's education department.

Some had hardly changed their spots. Leslie mentioned that Ewan Aitken, a Church of Scotland minister as it happens who speaks for education in Edinburgh (and is not unknown in these columns), had decided "unilaterally" that schools in the city should have contemplation areas.

Duncan said in his best stentorian tones from SSTA days: "That is correct - he's very good at that."

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