November was conference season, and everyone's been clamouring for Jotter to return - in particular the great and the good of education, who feel the need for someone to "prick their pomposity". So here it is - a Jotter special to celebrate the endless round of conferences and dinners we've been attending on your behalf.
The man with two brains
Alan Jones, of Eastbank Academy fame, is no stranger to seasoned conference-goers. The star of Scottish school and stage introduced SLS's after-dinner speaker Fraser Sanderson, former director of education at Dumfries and Galloway, with the story about the first man in the world to be given a brain transplant. The doctor gave him the choice of two brains: the first belonged to a headteacher and cost pound;50,000; the second to a director of education and cost pound;500,000. "Doctor, why is that one so much more expensive?" asked the patient. "Because the brain has hardly been used," he replied.
She swears it happened
Carole Ford kept her own end up when she accepted honorary membership of that renowned professional body, School Leaders Scotland. She sounded like a match for anyone, even the parents at Kilmarnock Academy. When one young lad was suspended for foul language, his mother had to attend a re-admit interview. She assured Mrs Ford she couldn't understand where he had learnt such profanities. Having signed the assurance of co-operation form, the poor woman was mightily relieved: "Thank Christ that's over," she told the heidie. "I was fucking shiting myself all the way here."
Mum gets to the point
Standards are clearly falling, though, as another story from the same source reveals. A girl was suspended for having a knife with her in school. At the re-admit interview the mother was again most supportive of the school and angry with her daughter. "You know Mrs Ford, a' the days I carried a blade, I never took it with me to the school."
Mike's got the X factor
The primary heads' gathering was not without its moments either. It takes a lot to upstage Mike Russell when he is at the podium. But at the AHDS conference a ripple of laughter swept through his audience as a picture of Simon Cowell appeared on the screen behind him. The technology had gone into fast-forward and was showing the presentation accompanying the next speaker. There is, of course, no comparison between the preeningly self- promoting pop svengali and our humble education secretary.
Do you take this college .?
And finally, a little footnote from the FE sector, where Langside College gets special mention in connection with guidance it received from the Scottish Government on the new "Forced marriage" legislation - for its foresight in putting it on the board agenda under the item of college mergers.