School Diary - Ironic how CfE and Cif sound so alike

20th February 2009 at 00:00


I have decided to start a blog. It seems the "in" thing to do for anyone hoping to make a mark in the world of education these days.

Davie McManus was scornful. "Why, Morris?" exclaimed our notoriously outspoken biology teacher. "If there's one thing I can't stand in education - or anywhere else, come to that - it's those thousands of self-important tossers who think that every tedious minute of their highly tedious lives will be of the slightest interest to anyone else."

"Nonsense," I rejoined. "Sharing good practice is what it's all about, and I intend to communicate my thoughts on the important educational issues of the day with interested parties."

"Good luck!" he retorted. "Let's hope you've got some good practice to share."


Our PPP school's security arrangements are the subject of further criticism. Access to the building is apparently freely available through the PE corridor, used day and night by the council's community leisure services. The doors at the end of this corridor are, of course, supposed to be sealed for security, as per the original plan provided by Kostuss, our PPP contractors. Alas, we have discovered that they cannot be locked, because - improbable as it may seem - they are fire doors!

Consequently, sundry hooligans had taken advantage of this open-door policy last night to make off with several laptops, many with student data contained therein.

The biggest problem, apart from the thefts, was the mess that the thieves left behind, having rummaged through every cupboard to select the best items to steal. Having said that, it has to be admitted that Mrs Harry commented her classroom seemed tidier after the break-in than before it.


I've had quite a few problems with my blog, due to some firewall issues. As a recently-connected Glow school, this is an occasional problem, according to our IT technician, occasioned by our over-zealous council's IT management wishing to "have the bragging rights", as he put it, over who gets access to their networks.

"It's the same old problem, Mr Simpson," he explained, "of 32 authorities wanting to invent the wheel themselves. And all signing up to different systems, with some compatible with Glow, and others - like ours - taking half-an-hour to sort out why it's impossible to send an email with an attachment. I tell you, I'm supposed to be a Glow mentor, but at times I'm more of a smouldering Glow mentor ... ".


Notwithstanding my up-to-the-minute position in the blogging fraternity, I am still bemused at times by the technological wizardry that surrounds me - and over which my students have complete command.

A case in point was today's revelation that I had been roundly insulted by Charlie Connelly of 2N. The first I knew of it was when our depute head, Kevin Muir, sidled into my classroom just as I was settling them down after a particularly vigorous class debate.

"Right, 2N!" Mr Muir bawled across the bedlam. "Sit down, shut up, don't move - and Connelly!" he glared malevolently in the hapless child's direction. "Get to my room. Now."

I was a little annoyed at his usurping my authority, but held my counsel as he took me aside. "Take a look at this, Morris," he muttered, shielding the screen of his mobile phone. "Came through on my Bluetooth as I was passing your room, and it's clearly been sent out by Connelly to anyone within Bluetooth range - which included me, unfortunately for him."

I started to read the text message, which contained a variety of disgusting allegations about my private life, most especially concerning a relationship of a sexual nature that I am purported to be engaged in with Miss Tarbet of home economics, and went on to suggest that Mr Muir was in a similar position, so to speak, regarding Rosemary Slater, our headteacher.

I was pale and speechless. Fortunately, Mr Muir wasn't, and told me to get back to 2N while he dealt with Connelly. I still found it hard to believe that a major disciplinary incident took place in my classroom and was resolved before I even knew it had happened.

I suppose that's what senior management is for.


Billy Logan of 1N was sick during English. He warned of feeling sick, but he's claimed that before, so I ignored him. Alas, today it was true, and my dash toward his desk with a supermarket polythene bag was just in time - almost.

"You see, Billy," I berated him, "this is what happens when you cry wolf too often and ... ".

"Aw surr!" screeched Tracy Spence: "It's a'drippin' oot the holes in the boattum."

And so it was. I sent Tracy for the janitor, and Mr Dallas soon arrived, clutching the large green box provided by Kostuss, and labelled "Bio-Hazard Kit". It was the first time I'd seen this equipment, as was obviously the case for Mr Dallas, who opened it with major expectation - only to be disappointed by the contents, which consisted of a pair of rubber gloves and a plastic bottle of Cif cleaning fluid!

"Whit the hell's this?!" he exclaimed angrily. "Ach, this is nae bloody use. Ah'll away an' get ma moap'n'bucket an' some sand!"

I decided to relate the incident on my (newly-connected) blog this afternoon, and got a response almost immediately, from someone called 'Spudulike'!

"A word from the wise here, Morris," he adjoined: "It's unusual to put your real name up on a blog like this. Just in case you're critical of school policy, or council policy, or government policy, and they mark your cards. Anyway, I loved your story about the vomiting first-year, though at first I thought you'd got Cif mixed up with CfE, which would be ironic, wouldn't it? All the best. Spudulike."

It was an interesting point. I know that CfE is supposed to be the solution to everything in Scottish education - but I suspect that Billy Logan's outpourings would have been just too much for even it to accommodate.

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