Starker Still

9th October 1998 at 01:00
Hillhead High in Glasgow was the venue last week when BBC Scotland descended to record the first in a series on topical educational issues, a discussion about Higher Still broadcast this week.

Making the Grade, which will tour schools and colleges, clearly had to have a top-notch presenter and it was just as well they called in "award-winning broadcaster" Edi Stark ("Sony Award-winning broadcaster" even).

When she asked the Hillhead audience if they could say what Higher Still was about, perhaps inevitably none of the pupils' hands went up. But when she asked the half dozen teachers, she was greeted with the same, er, stark response. The Beeb must have wished it had embarked on a simpler series like the global economic crisis.

Hillhead heidie Ken Cunningham showed why he has risen to the top, attempting to explain that, although there may be some ignorance on the detail of Higher Still, "they knew what it was about". Is this what is known as cascading?

Colin Campbell, one of Cunningham's principal teachers of guidance, was determined that listeners would hear at least one voice from the staffroom. In fine Glasgow flow, he denounced Higher Still and all its works as "mince" - which would have done his street cred no harm with younger listeners. There had been "lies from day one".

Perhaps reflecting on how his comments might have been received, Campbell was heard to say as he headed for his class: "I'll be expecting my P45 in the post."

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