As pupils and teachers prepare to take their leave, they could be forgiven for being in less than holiday mood. It gives us no cheer to add to the air of gloom by saying we told you so, having pointed out on this page last week that teachers could be faced with "the unpalatable dilemma of whether they value their services more than their salaries". So it has proved with Chancellor George Osborne's first budget (p1) which, in effect, sent out the stirring message: "Become a teacher and see your pay stagnate". The hopes for the future rest with a brace of Huttons - John, who will investigate public sector pensions, and Will, who is to don the mantle of Solomon to draw up plans for "fairer pay across the public sector without increasing the overall pay bill".
But, as ever, the job of The TESS - like the avowed aim of the new head of the inspectorate (p5) - is not to leave teachers demoralised. This week's issue is proof yet again of the "excellence", to coin a phrase, which is the hallmark of endeavour by thousands of teachers and pupils. This is not just confined to those who won prizes at the Scottish Education Awards (p4) or in the Scottish School Magazine Competition (p17) - or indeed in The TES Schools Awards last week - but to those who were leeted or narrowly missed out.
The fact remains, however, that the Scottish Government is now in a bind: how to make teaching an attractive proposition while pay is frozen? Teachers will undoubtedly raise their game in the elusive search for "excellence" and, of course, they are not solely motivated by money. But salaries are a reflection of the true value society places on teachers' worth, whatever the platitudes to the contrary. Their only consolation is that "we're all in this together" - well, most of us anyway.
Neil Munro, editor of the year (business and professional magazine).