Pignatelli announced in his speech to the 60th anniversary dinner of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland that he has been asked to keep his role in the Higher Still development programme as chairman of the task group on curriculum and assessment.
Documents relating to Higher Still will henceforth be serialised in the London Evening Standard. But was it a postprandial misapprehension, or did he say that, they "would be better than some of the stuff that appears?
Lord Mackay, the Lord Chancellor, was the principal guest speaker and pleased his audience by affirming that heads should be teachers rather than managers. Coming from such a senior member of the Cabinet, this will be heresy to the audit unit of the Scottish Office education and industry department. But Mackay had a twinkle in his eye, especially when he disclaimed any desire to tread on the territory of his colleague, Michael Forsyth.
When the association was founded, the Lord Chancellor was in primary school. His teacher at James Gillespie's Boys' school in Edinburgh wore her hat throughout the day and took a keen interest in promising pupils in the manner of Muriel Spark's near contemporary Jean Brodie.
Mackay must have ranked among her "cr me de la creme". He moved to George Heriot's where despite his much famed mental acuteness he was not destined to be dux. That distinction went to a member of his audience: Bob Campbell, a retired Greenock head and Liberal Democrat councillor in Strathclyde.