Jotter - Sunny Jim? Maybe not

10th December 2010 at 00:00

Jim Thewliss must wonder what he's done to offend the inspectorate. After all, the new leader of School Leaders Scotland simply used the platform of his presidential speech last month to lambast Her Majesty's finest for lording over an "output-driven process" which is "tainted" by inspectors' inability to see beyond exam attainment. Fair enough.

Now the head of Harris Academy in Dundee will get an early opportunity to put his points to the inspectors in person. For his school has been selected as the first secondary to be inspected next month, when HMIE resumes its full scrutiny regime after sorting out the new curriculum. Funny that.

To the point - not

Talking of inspectors, Jim Bruce was wowing them at the geography teachers' annual mapping exercise - sort of. A well-kent geographer himself, Bruce was nearing the end of a well-received, but clearly over- length, address which had conference running significantly late.

Announcing the-10 point findings of a survey into "What Makes a Good Teacher?", he covered the first five points which included the usual markers of acclaim such as "sense of humour" and "knows pupils well". He then made the fatal error of asking if anyone could guess what number 10 might be? "Makes short speeches," came the plaintive cry from the floor.

HMIE's master of brevity had the grace to laugh - and wrap up quickly. But not before giving the answer to his question, which was "smells nice".


As teachers get pulled hither and thither by snowbound homes and schools, they might smile ruefully when they learn of how their colleagues in Malaysia fare. According to an educational researcher at the researchers' annual think-in, their equivalent of chartered teachers enjoy some royal perks - including a driver, a maid and pound;2,000 for home improvements. It probably means they don't get paid.

Flushed with success

Dundee's Verdant Works, which superbly celebrates the jute-making past of the city with working machinery, also covers the social history of the industry and has a replica stairheid cludgie (an outside communal toilet on the landing of a tenement, for the posh and the young).

It's been voted the favourite exhibit by the 8,000 school children who visit the working museum annually on educational visits.

Perhaps this has something to do with the partly-open door which young hands are invited to push open, resulting in a man's voice shouting, "Get oot! Ah'm in here!" as a dummy is revealed sitting on the pan reading the newspaper he is about to use for other purposes.

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