25 Years Ago

27th December 1996 at 00:00
The year 1971 may be remembered by some as the year that went sour over milk - or over the withdrawal of it. Or maybe it was the year that went green over guidance, the green being not only the colour of the paper that some people said was intended merely as food for thought, but also the colour of the envious authorities who came to realise that others, far from pondering over the document, had anticipated it and were virtually introducing attractive new promotion structures.

Meantime guidance itself was the subject of lectures, seminars, courses galore; and increasingly it became bogged down in confusion about its purpose, cynicism about its application, and uncertainty about its philosophic, social or educational basis.

Then of course 1971 may be thought of as the year of the race towards the raising of the school leaving age, a race because for so long the teaching profession had believed it might not happen. After all, teachers in Scotland seemed mostly to agree that it ought not to happen so soon: yet happen it will.

Then again, 1971 may be seen as the Taylor-Monro year, Edward Taylor leaving the under-secretary post for no reason connected with education, and Hector Monro being given the job for no reason apparently connected with education. But if in Scotland we feel tempted to pass wry comment on the detachment of most Tory MPs from Scottish education (so few went to school or university here) we should remember that the personal touch is not always a blessing. Take the tension south of the border: if Mr Gordon Campbell or Mr Monro felt as personally concerned and determined about educational matters as Mrs Thatcher seems to feel there might be more complaints here.

* From the Oban Times: "Campbeltown Grammar pupils attending the second sitting of school meals may be getting a raw deal"


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