Ins and outs;Jotter

17th December 1999 at 00:00
There was much meat for the wry observer at last week's meeting of the Parliament's education committee. Supporters of two very different schools appeared before the MSPs. St Mary's Episcopal primary in Dunblane is, of course, "in" (the state system) but wants to stay "out" (of local council control).

By contrast the Steiner Waldorf schools are "out" (in the independent sector) but want "in" (to the state system, but not necessarily under council control). Geddit?

Schools do not necessarily have to travel to the politicians, we can reveal. The education committee has actually visited four schools - state sector, of course - which has enabled them to see some problems at first hand.

The MSPs agreed last week to send a thank you to the schools for having them. One of those visited was Darnley primary in Glasgow where, during a moment of sublime rather than divine intervention, water came pouring through the ceiling while everyone was chatting in the head's room.

The SNP's Mike Russell suggested a whip-round so the school could buy a bucket. Mary Mulligan, the committee's convener, was having none of it. "That shows a lack of ambition," she told him. "You should be clubbing together to buy a new roof." It used to be the case that, if schools wanted building improvements, they would arrange an HMI visit. Perhaps now a timely visit from a few Parliamentarians will do the trick.

In any case we hope Darnley gets a rain-proof ceiling as quickly as possible. The city fathers will not be happy with any more leaks while MSPs are on the premises.

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