Trend-setting

19th November 2004 at 00:00
To Shetland for the new mobile SETT show - certainly upwardly mobile: the annual Glasgow-based education extravaganza could not have gone farther north. It is, as Alex Jamieson, head of education, reminded us, "the top education authority in Scotland". HMI should have known.

Lerwick's Anderson High was, literally, going like a fair, as almost all 500 of the authority's teachers used two of their in-service days to soak up the 69 sessions on offer. The cafeteria service gave a passable imitation of a 247 operation.

The event landed a big fish (as they say in these parts), with Stephen Heppell, the leading computers-in-education guru, appearing live to do a talk on each of the days. Inevitably, things did not go entirely to plan and Heppell had to wait for a plug to lend sound to his laptop.

A special delivery duly arrived via a local official. "What a nice chap," said Heppell. "Should have asked for a whisky as well."

As for the 69 sessions, some were better attended than others; indeed some were cancelled due to lack of interest. Two hardy souls, plus a chap from this organ, turned up for an exposition on the "Stacs" tables, beloved of secondary schools as the annual exercise in trying to make sense of the exam results.

Tony Flisch of the Af Consultancy, who was indeed making sense of them, scattered the usual health warnings around. "Being a statistician means never having to say you're certain," Flisch quipped.

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