Ahead of its time

23rd May 2008 at 01:00
The recent dinner to celebrate 150 years of St Mungo's Academy in Glasgow was like a who's who of the great and good of the west of Scotland Catholic education world, many no doubt having passed through the hallowed doors of the now-closed St Mungo's Club
The recent dinner to celebrate 150 years of St Mungo's Academy in Glasgow was like a who's who of the great and good of the west of Scotland Catholic education world, many no doubt having passed through the hallowed doors of the now-closed St Mungo's Club.

Two great alumni present were John Mulgrew, boss of Learning and Teaching Scotland, and Anton Colella, former boss of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and now bossing Scotland's accountants.

Colella suggested that the Marist Brothers were ahead of their time by having the school dining hall four miles away from the actual school, when he was a pupil in 1978. As he told his audience: "St Mungo's was ahead of its time with that anti-obesity strategy. The journey to the dinner hall was like a pilgrimage."

One observer rejoined: "Trust the Marists to make the kids suffer in more ways than one."

Adam's vigil

Nursery rhymes have emerged as the latest vehicle for enthusing youngsters about the written word - sung, written or spoken. "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" emerged from the survey by Bookstart as Scotland's favourite. Showing she is in tune with the youth, this was also the choice of children's champion Kathleen Marshall. The favourite rhyme of Adam Ingram was very different - "Wee Willie Winkie". Perhaps there is a subtle hint of policy here from the Children's Minister, for the rhyme poses the key question: "Are the weans in their beds, fur it's noo 10 o'clock?"

Odour and out

When you come up with a new acronym or label, it's always a good idea to reach for the dictionary to check out any similar products.

So it was with the inspectorate's Iain MacRobert, as he told the college quality enhancement brigade during their recent outing at Carnegie College. He was explaining the new system of "annual engagements" which HMIE would be having with colleges.

First, there is to be the "pre-visit analysis," or PVA as he christened it. The other was the industrial product polyvinyl alcohol which, he found, is "odourless, non-toxic and transparent - like an inspector".

Home, James

The late James Scotland, the colourful principal of Aberdeen College of Education, who used to write gags for Stanley Baxter among others, is being celebrated in a collection of his notable graduation addresses. One recalls how he had to rush home for an important engagement, which required him to change into his dinner suit on the train, and then tuck into his sandwiches. A minister sitting opposite opined: "Excuse me, sir, I've heard of dressing for dinner, but this is ridiculous."

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