Govan's guiding knight

10th December 2004 at 00:00
Little could the esteemed manager of one of the world's most famous football teams realise how much the reorganisation of the management of Scottish schools would bestow further honours on him.

Long after the footballing achievements of Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson have been forgotten, his name will continue to resound in the school corridors, if not the streets, of Govan, his home patch.

When Govan High recently held a competition to name its two new guidance "houses" (to replace the previous four), the Anglo footballing knight came out on top. No surprise there then, given the high national profile of Sir Alex. As a newspaper of record, we should record that the other "winner" was Dan Whitelaw, a local businessman and longtime benefactor of the school.

Govan-watchers are surmising why another Govanite with at least as high a profile as Sir Alex did not feature. But then having a (Billy) Connolly House in a school so near to Ibrox Stadium might have proved a house name too far, given Connolly's close association with Rangers' great rivals in the east end of the city.

The fact that Sir Alex played for Rangers in his early days would, of course, never have been a factor in his elevation.

Dog days

Somewhere in darkest Glasgow, we hear, an attendance officer accompanied by a depute head (safety in numbers) went to a block of flats to speak to a family about the daughter's poor attendance.

As they climbed the stairs they spotted a large Rottweiler patrolling the landing outside the flat they were to visit. Undaunted, the fearless duo rang the bell. The door was opened and in rushed the dog. They were greeted by the mother and taken into a sparsely furnished living room.

The conversation wasn't going well and, to make matters worse, the depute saw the dog cock its leg and pee up against a wall in the room. No one said anything and he decided to keep quiet.

The conversation became more heated and then he saw the dog make another bodily discharge in the corner. Again no one mentioned it.

Eventually the attendance officer decided to call a halt to the meeting as the family were becomingly increasingly hostile. Both were shown out and started to walk downstairs, celebrating their escape. Suddenly the flat door was thrown open and the father shouted after them: " An' youse can take yer dog wae yeh!"

Looking for Mrs Right

Leadership ambitions in what we sometimes call the denominational sector will be sharpened considerably in the coming months. For the heads of the biggest Catholic secondary and the top-performing one have both decided to hang up their leadership, spiritual and academic, as from the end of June.

Finbarr Moynihan at Glasgow's Holyrood is finishing up and James "The Biscuit" McVittie, the only heidie that St Ninian's in Giffnock has had, will crumble away at the same time.

Now the race is on for the two councils to pick the cream of the crop, with Holyrood offering cash and St Ninian's offering slightly less cash, but bags more heidie cred, or maybe creed, with better exam results and the chance to push up houses prices even further in East Renfrewshire.

Watch this space. Let us pray.

Romance of education

When the Scottish Qualifications Authority's advisory council met in the ballroom of East Renfrewshire Council's rather grand Eastwood House, a popular local wedding venue, convener Linda McKay warned members not to be surprised if they saw a bride passing by, proving that "education and romance do mix".

It turns out that council member Anne Mulgrew, heidie at St Andrew's High in East Kilbride and wife of East Ayrshire's education supremo, had her wedding reception there, so taking romantic notions higher still.

A musing Grace

And so to the annual awards outing for Scotland's colleges (FE Focus, page 4).

There were many highlights - a particular, if surprising, one being the grace before dinner, customised for the occasion by the Rev Howard Haslett, a rumbustious Ulsterman whose parish is now East Linton in East Lothian (having once been Edinburgh Academy).

"Lord bless the food we eat this night

Lord bless the drink we drink

Lord bless the knives and forks and spoons

Lord bless the kitchen sink

You bless us, Lord, with many gifts

Of wisdom, skill and knowl-edge

So if you've any blessings left

Bless Scotland's every college."

Not a dissenter in the house to that one.

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