Philip Banks, chief inspector, was dispatched to the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association conference last weekend to defend Higher Still, well aware delegates were facing a boycott call. This may have influenced his skillfully delivered hour-long speech.
The longer you speak, the less time for questions, ventured one cynic. Banks' studied address did manage to hold delegates in their seats, but not all remained upright.
Obviously concerned about whether he would sink or swim, Mr Banks laced his talk with references to "Titanic" battles over Higher Still.
A history teacher thought this a misguided analogy. "It should be the Lusitania. It was torpedoed below the waterline," he quipped.