Poacher as gamekeeper

8th February 2008 at 00:00
East Renfrewshire's press supremo, Hugh Dougherty, the man behind the story of parents sneaking their way into the council's schools by using fake addresses (TESS, January 11) has been outed: he confessed that he was himself the beneficiary of an accommodation address to access a better school.

Young Dougherty, a product of Glasgow's then-douce Battlefield area, should have attended Holy Cross Primary when he turned five in 1955. Alas, Holy Cross was in rougher Govanhill, so his parents enrolled him at St Mirin's in up-market King's Park by using his auntie's address.

"I spent years telling people that I lived in Glencroft Road, but always headed home to Battlefield where we were the only Catholic family for miles around," Dougherty admitted.

"King's Park was then what Mearns is to aspiring Catholics now, and the fact that my parents were both teachers probably had something to do with the whole thing, as they knew how to work the system and were too mean to buy a house in King's Park anyway," confessed the PR king.

No support

A bust-up has ensued over an item in the Scottish Catholic Observer, which reported on a visit by Ultimo bra tycoon Michelle Mone to fourth-year business studies pupils at Glasgow's St Mungo's Academy.

The headline, "Cleavage queen offers advice to pupils", brassed off a holy host of readers, and the paper had to confess its sin and seek contrition by apologising to readers, St Mungo's and Ms Mone herself, in an attempt to regain support. The school will clearly have to be a bit less up front in its enterprising activities in future.

Whys after the event

We report elsewhere (p21) on last week's parliamentary debate about the place of Scottish history in the curriculum. But the SNP's Gil Paterson must go to the top of the class. "Why are there so many whys about Scottish history?" he asked, before adding: "Why would anyone want to suppress such questions?" We cannot think.

Too much of a good thing

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report on Scottish schools has also provided fertile ground for our MSPs, not least in sparking a debate on the future of Standard grade. At least one SNP member, 34-year-old Bob Doris, a former Glasgow teacher, was among the first group of intakes on the Standard grade course - or "guinea pigs", as he put it.

This revelation left Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, at a loss. "I am not sure whether that is a good thing or a bad thing," she mused.

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