No hooray for Henry

9th May 2008 at 01:00
Fame went briefly to the head of our own Henry Hepburn a fortnight ago
Fame went briefly to the head of our own Henry Hepburn a fortnight ago.

He'd made a routine call to Fortrose Academy, asking for a teacher to talk about this year's Standard grade English exams. The message was passed on to principal teacher Fiona Watson, who was happy to oblige - but asked if Henry wouldn't mind answering a few questions about himself in return.

It seems she'd used his name as the catalyst for an imaginative writing class: S1 pupils were invited to speculate what type of person might go by such a moniker. Flattered by the attention, Henry reeled off a string of personal qualities, but was quickly brought back down to earth after revealing that he was tall and of slender build.

"Oh, really?" Ms Watson interjected. "Everyone seemed to think 'Henry Hepburn' would be quite rotund."

Humes is where the heart is

Mention Walter Humes and the inspectorate springs to mind - albeit not in the way that would bring an "excellent" score from HMIE.

He was recalling the other day how a visitor heading for the inspectors' hide-out in Edinburgh's Saughton area wandered into the nearby prison by mistake. "I realised I was in the wrong place because the staff were so nice," he told Humes.

An innumerate view

When research by Dundee University's Sheila Henderson showed that student primary teachers often struggled with maths, corroborating evidence came from an unlikely source.

During a holiday in Rome, she had ended up on a tour of St Peter's Basilica, led by a young Scottish woman who, it transpired, was filling time before starting a PGDE in primary teaching.

The young guide concluded her tour with the unfortunate advice: "I strongly recommend you go to the top of the stairs - you get a wonderful, panoramic 340-degree view."

Premium on fuel

The fuel strike at Grangemouth sparked pupil hopes that the Standard grade and Intermediate exams might have to be cancelled. Alas no, and the only person likely to do so now - or at least in 2012 - is the Education Secretary.

A much more serious threat to pupils' attendance in the exam hall appeared in the guise of ITV's X Factor talent show, which chose to hold its Scottish auditions on Monday, when candidates would normally be expected to have their heads down studying for their Standard grade English exam the following day.

The chance of pleasure versus pain - it's a tough call. A bit like headteachers bunking off to Seville a few years ago to watch Celtic playing in the UEFA cup final.

Oops, now who said that?

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