THE ANNUAL bash of Scotland's directors of education (page six) is always a jolly affair, improbable as that might sound to those at the chalkface. This probably has everything to do with their innate joie de vivre and nothing to do with the excellent wine provided by the TES Scotland - intended, naturally, as a stimulus to discussion.
This year's conference in Dunblane was the last to be attended by Keir Bloomer, the outgoing president of the Association of Directors of Education, and outgoing (as of the stroke of midnight last Friday) director in Clackmannan.
Bloomer has always been outgoing, of course, and he showed every sign of slipping effortlessly into his new role. "I thought I might come and talk to you about departmentalism, but then thought better of it," he told the asembled departmentalists.
Bloomer now joins a small but distinguished group of latter-day anti departmentalists who have stepped up from the education directorate to become chief executives - Douglas Paterson (Aberdeen), Sandy Watson (Angus), Neil Galbraith (Western Isles) and David Montgomery (East Ayrshire).
There are infiltrations at the other end as well, with a number of ADES members whose background is in finance, social work and community work. So farewell then, the Association of Directors of Education?
Whoever they are, they all received a back-handed tribute from Ray Shostak, the director in Hertfordshire, who told them: "I thought I was coming to speak to directors of education, but then I realised I was speaking to those who know what they are doing."