Out of Africa

21st May 2004 at 01:00
Alan McKenzie, SSTA president, is an entertainment in himself and enlivened a douce affair.

Brought up in Sierra Leone, McKenzie knows a thing or two about firm discipline. "There were some pretty horrific practices - some of which I'm trying to introduce into my own school."

He was joking, we think.

An old stager, the Greenock Academy PT history spied something of himself in Mike Baughan, soon to be departing chief executive of Learning and Teaching Scotland, who is off to retirement and the hills in two weeks.

McKenzie announced: "Mike inhabits the same world as me - the fountain pen, foolscap paper and the Home Service." He also had no PowerPoint presentation as he addressed the SSTA multitudes - 9,000 members now, you know - and recalled his days as heidie at Webster's High in Kirriemuir.

Shortly after taking over, he came across an HMI report from July 1875 in "immaculate copperplate writing".

The report said: "The accommodation was ample and convenient. There were a number of intelligent looking pupils of a very respectable class. The staff was newly organised and liberally paid.

"We expected soon to see a school judiciously arranged, working out its plans in order and calmly. We expected to see a healthy tome of moral earnestness pervading the place. The pupils eager, vigorous, ambitious for success, innocently emulous of each other: the master strict, resolute, energetic, exciting the enthusiasm of the pupils, banishing levity and compelling respect by his own dignity, earnestness, extensive information and zeal."

Alas, it concluded: "The picture presented by the school falls considerably short of our expectation."

Or as Baughan put it: "So what's new, folks?"

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now