25 Years ago

18th April 1997 at 01:00

Teacher shortage has caused a crisis in Scottish Roman Catholic schools, said Cardinal Gray, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, on Sunday at an education rally in Kilmarnock. The supply of secondary teachers was still far below essential needs in some subjects. Catholic parents must encourage their children to become teachers. Discussing the Education Act of 1872 and the safeguards for Catholic education in the 1918 legislation, Cardinal Gray said: "There must be present a Catholic, a Christian background and atmosphere against which and within which maths, French and science are taught."

* The SSTA's "urgent and important" bulletin to members not only acquainted them with the "EIS plot" to stamp out the SSTA and Scottish Schoolmasters' Association through reaching agency shop agreements with the big authorities, but served as an intimation of mortality. In its report on the superannuation negotiations there is an explanation for the lower contribution rates proposed for teachers in Scotland. Teachers in Scotland tend to die at an earlier age.

* From an article by a schools inspector: As the only male to whom the headmaster can talk the Scottish janitor (caretaker south of the border) is an important figure unrecognisable to his English counterpart. He not only runs the football teams, but is often very knowledgeable about modern educational theory, and looks forward to an inspection as an occasion for a stimulating discussion.

Curiously, attendance officers, who in this part of the world are invariably promoted janitors, tend to present themselves as good, old-fashioned kid-catchers ("We frighten the life out of 'em"). I had just accepted this at face value when I met my first attendance officer at work and found myself exchanging quotations from Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes.

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