Aberdeenshire teacher John Black is best known for his Doric verse when he is in full flight. But he is not, ahem, a-verse to the Queen's English and used it to full effect when he moved a critical motion on quality assurance at the Educational Institute of Scotland's annual conference last month (abridged version):
In different parts of Scotland, depending who's in charge,
The QA demands can vary, but they're seldom short of large.
The proportionate QA model is a system well received
Particularly if all publicity around it is believed.
In between inspections, QIOs are seldom seen,
You're vaguely aware they're out there, but they're never very keen
To visit your establishment and to offer schools support
But they swarm around like locusts, to pre-inspect and then report.
So let's call upon this union,
This august and hardy few
To investigate this nonsense
And subject it to review.
I thank you for indulging
My expression of this notion.
Colleagues please lift your voting cards
And support this worthy motion.
Some further education principals never die and others never fade away. The irrepressible Howard McKenzie, who was in charge of Jewel and Esk College in the Lothians, has just produced a bodice-ripper yarn entitled Love Smiles.
It is coyly described as following two people in Edinburgh "from friendship to erotic desire to sexual fulfilment, from which develops a gentle loving relationship".
The leading characters are Simon Macintosh, who is a consultant (as is McKenzie) and singer B K Shore. B K? Could this be Beyonce Knowles in disguise? McKenzie says he met her by accident in Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel. "I said `you're Beyonce Knowles' and she said `you're Howard McKenzie'.
"I thought `bloody hell, she knows me', but then realised I had a name badge on because I was at a seminar."
Any further comparisons between life and art should be resisted.
The pros and cons of Curriculum for Excellence can be boiled down to a clash of pessimists and optimists, according to Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland.
He told a national conference recently about the pessimist who cannot believe the Government when it says "get on with it". The optimist, on the other hand, is waist deep in horse manure, smiling as he shovels the stuff over his shoulder, saying: "Given all this crap, there's got to be a pony in here somewhere."