Newspapers are accused of publishing only bad news. Even The TES Scotland has been occasionally told that reports of politicians scrapping or unions posturing detract from the quiet, unheralded work that goes on in schools and colleges. The journalist's response always is, don't shoot the messenger; we only report what is new and happening out there. So is this Eastertide an abnormally peaceful period post-McCrone, or is there a sea change, for we can't drag ourselves away from news of positive initiatives?
Last week we told of an excellent HMI report on a community-involved primary in Paisley's troubled Ferguslie Park, emotional literacy classes for Glasgow children and an arts and culture strategy in Renfrewshire aimed at raising academic standards. This week there are descriptions of an East Ayrshire scheme to combat the low-level classroom disruption that is the bane of the teacher's life (page four) ad of a Midlothian primary-secondary liaison project in science (ScotlandPlus page five). Just to show that innovation is not confined to schools, there is also a new multi-purpose community learning centre in the middle of Alloa (page three). The linking factor is local enterprise. All have their origins in schools or councils. They meet perceived needs rather than being born of ministerial wheeze or civil servants' committee. As such, they are not seen as external impositions; so there is a sense of ownership.
If things work out well, "success stories" can be passed on. The new community schools initiative is a case in point: although it had its origins in a coming together of HMI problem analysis and the Executive's search for "social inclusion" ideas, it allows for a wide variety of local interpretation. Teachers will hope that the devolutionary spirit spreads, but for the dangers, see below.