Guess who?

7th February 1997 at 00:00
It is clear from reading the education White Paper that the collective if invisible hand of the civil service is all over it and anybody making allegations to the contrary should hang their head in shame.

The 5-14 programme, we are told, was "launched by the current Secretary of State when minister for education in 1988". It also appears that "the Secretary of State, when minister for education in 1989, made the decision to establish the Craighalbert Centre which has developed conductive education in Scotland".

Michael Forsyth's energy is astonishing given that he also launched the parents' charter in 1991 "when minister for education". Legislation on school boards was "taken through Parliament by the Secretary of State in 1988 when minister for education".

And it comes as little surprise to be reminded that "in 1991 the Secretary of State, then minister for education, launched the Government's staff development and appraisal initiative".

Inevitably there came a time when the Secretary of State became the Secretary of State and, as such, was "instrumental" in setting up the Garrick committee to advise the Dearing committee on higher education in Scotland.

In fairness it has to be said that George Younger and Ian Lang, two of Forsyth's predecessors, get one mention each for respectively creating placing requests and the Scottish Electronics Forum.

But not a mention of those other toilers in the educational vineyard, Lord James Douglas-Hamilton and Raymond Robertson (not even when some of Robertson's previous announcements, such as the one on discipline, were repeated).

So, you see, it was all written by the civil servants.

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