Golly for that teddy

14th December 2007 at 00:00
The furore over the English teacher and a Khartoum teddy called Mohammed brought back memories for one reader of Strathclyde Region's famous pre-fives unit, set up by the ever-watchful Helen Penn in 1987 to drive forward the then unfashionable nursery school agenda.

On one famous occasion, phone calls were made to nurseries all over the once-mighty empire to find out if any establishments were harbouring golliwogs: if they were, staff were instructed to root them out.

Soft toy interrogations in nurseries were later revived under the region's feared securitate, officially known as the quality improvement service. What exactly this squad would have made of the situation in Sudan is anyone's guess, but there are those around who firmly believe that any transgressors would have got a lot more than 15 days in jail.

Vorsprung durch ...

A Strathclyde University DVD for schools with little experience of trainee English teachers went down a storm. On a scale of one to five, it was rated three or more by every school that responded - except one. This disgruntled English department insisted it only merited a two. The reason? The blasted thing refused to work in the CD player.

What's in a name?

The word "Stalinist" has entered the lexicon for, among other things, the worst in brutalist and soul-less architecture. So we thought we were on to a lovely story when we got a call to let us know that Architecture+Design Scotland, whose job is to promote good architecture, had appointed a new "education champion" to stimulate better designed schools - a Mr Stalin, we heard.

Alas, all good stories must come to an end - for he is a Mr Paul Stallan. But, as they say in architectural circles, it's a fine line.

Only one way - and it's up

Inexperience will out. Isabel Hutton, newly appointed by the local authorities as their national spokesperson for education, children and young people, incurred the wrath of nursery school heads at the recent early years conference organised by the primary heads' association. She was boo-ed after relating how a member of staff at her child's nursery was fortunate enough to "up-skill and train" to be a secondary teacher.

Oops.

Cavern club

Dalry Primary in North Ayrshire may think it has a "wow" new school, and many would agree (TESS last week). But in China, they do things differently and pupils in a remote village in Guizhou province are walking up to six hours to be educated - in a cave.

"The acoustics are great," said Xi Lin Chun, the headteacher. "We have the best choir in the area."

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