From the horse's mouth

23rd November 2007 at 00:00
Glasgow's John Paul Academy has been celebrating its 25 years and head Mary Weeple has been telling it from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Writing in the Scottish Catholic Observer, she recalls: "One aspect of being situated right at the edge of a development like Summerston is that pupils get the opportunity to see the countryside at close range.

"Until recently, our closest neighbour was a farm adjacent to our yard. There were a number of occasions when we found that the inhabitants of both establishments would wander into the neighbour's yard. Cows from the farm found the contents of discarded crisp packets an interesting change of diet, and one morning the head found herself being asked to persuade horses from the stables to return to their own yard."

Little wonder there's a recruitment crisis facing headteachers.

And it's hello from him

Whatever pressures heidies may be under, it hasn't dampened their sense of humour. Brian Cooklin, the president of the new School Leaders Scotland (the secondary heads formerly known as HAS), was in cracking form, thinly disguised as a vote of thanks to a "question time" panel at their conference last week.

With "confidence" guru Carol Craig on the panel, Cooklin felt he should let her know the real distinction between self-esteem and confidence. "Self-esteem is what gets hit when you're a depute and you're put through a job-sizing exercise," he explained. "Confidence is when you become a headteacher and you realise that a visit from a QIO doesn't matter a fig."

Mon dieu

The principal assessor reports of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (p10-11) are not where you would normally expect to go to find humour. But the sober statements in the account of pupils' performance in this year's French Standard grade provide just that. There were a number of "wild guesses" at words in the listening tests which candidates thought sounded like English words, it appears. Hence concours became conkers, entier was auntie, discuter was thought to be disco, quelque chose turned into shoes and avec qui was translated as with your key.

One good turn

Peter Reid, the new heidie at Broxburn Academy, was not reckoning on his past catching up with him when he took charge at his first proper parents' night the other week, coming as he did from South Lanarkshire. One of the parents spoke to him and thrust a Deep Purple (the band, not the colour) CD into his hand. Turns out this was a former pupil to whom a younger Reid had loaned the album in vinyl many years ago.

He must have made quite an impression.

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