The mighty EIS machine in Edinburgh's leafy Moray Place has clearly had an injection of research power to keep it fuelled. General secretary Ronnie Smith was able to tap into it for his annual speech to the union's conference at the weekend.
Welcoming Michael Russell to "the most insecure job in the Cabinet", he reminded delegates that the current Education Secretary was the tenth minister with whom he had dealt in his 15-and-a-half years as EIS general secretary. "That's one more than the number of husbands Zsa Zsa Gabor has had", he observed, not quite off the top of his head.
Classicist Smith, of course, does not need any research help when it comes to quoting the ancients. Stat sua cuique dies, he began, citing Vergil's Aeneid. This is not quite a conference favourite, so he obliged with a translation:
Every one has their appointed day .
For all of us life is brief and irrevocable;
But it is the work of virtue to extend our fame by our deeds.
Was this what the ancient Romans would have called a valedictory by the 59-year-old gen sec?
How Good Are Our Jokes?
If it's not Curriculum for Excellence, the bankers or local authorities that come in for bashing by the unions, it's Her Majesty's inspectors. The annual EIS conference heard from Glasgow delegate Pippa McKean: "How do you know which car in the car park belongs to an inspector? By their quality indicators."
Something to chew on
At last, we can report some good news on the new curriculum. "Budding young chefs" (we only quote the press release) at James Gillespie's Primary in Edinburgh have launched a recipe book aimed at improving dental health and diet. The project, like everything else these days, is described as "a perfect example of Curriculum for Excellence in action". Dare we add, "CfE with teeth"?
Congratulations to Jim Conroy, education dean at Glasgow University, for the great honour bestowed on him of being re-appointed to the board of Learning and Teaching Scotland. The official statement noted "the constructive way in which he challenges the work of the board (which has) made him a valuable board member over the past three years". We think that's meant to be a compliment.
Happiness is .
And congratulations, too, to Graeme Hyslop, principal of Glasgow's Langside College, for his OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours. The college tells us: "Graeme has enjoyed a full and varied career, including as a columnist for the TESS, while enjoying a happy home life." We trust these two are not mutually exclusive.