Minister's brain off to Mexico;Jotter

24th September 1999 at 01:00
It's that man again: Galbraith calls in Osler. No, no - there is no breakdown in relations between the chief education minister and his chief inspector. The latter is, after all, Her Majesty's Senior Chief Inspector of Schools, the ultimate protection.

The scene was a seminar on modern languages in Dunfermline last week. A man in the audience, clearly not in touch with events, wanted to know all about this HMI report on modern languages that everyone was talking about.

"Douglas, where's Douglas?" Galbraith cried out.

Douglas Osler thought he could be most helpful by sending the questioner a copy of the report.

"That's what he said to me as well," Galbraith chuckled.

During a slight pause before the next question from the floor, Galbraith assured them all: "Don't worry, not all the answers will be that we'll send you a copy of the report."

The fact that the first question to the minister was answered by the senior chief will, of course, only serve to confirm the gravest suspicions harboured among the more paranoid elements in the education directorate.

But, whatever they may think, others think differently. Last year the Northern Ireland Education Minister wanted Osler to sort out his inspectorate - or, as we immortalised it at the time, "Ulster calls in Osler".

Now, we hear, it's a case of "Mexico calls in Osler". He is shortly jetting off from his HQ in Edinburgh's Victoria Quay to introduce his Mexican counterparts to the joys of self-evaluation and external inspection.

He is not trying to win an overseas order against "stiff international competition", as they say. It seems Mexico has already trawled the world, including England, and has chosen Scotland.

So there, a case of "Mexico fails to call in Woodhead".

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