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21st December 2012 at 00:00
Grab a mince pie, some mulled wine and sit back for our Christmas special TESS Educational TV schedules

5.00pm, The Larry Flanagan Show

Multi-talented Larry (teacher, examiner, author, councillor and trades union leader) opens his new chat show. This week's guest is Dr Alasdair Allan, MSP: "It's a sort of Flanagan and Allan show," quips the genial host. Hilarious stuff.

5.30pm, The Book Programme

Alasdair Allan stays on in the studio to discuss the introduction of compulsory Scottish literature into Higher English, a move he describes as "one that is welcomed by all right-thinking Scottish educationalists, and a decision that was arrived at in response to a wide-ranging consultation exercise, conducted entirely amongst a broad selection of people who were specially selected because they already agreed with us."

6.00pm, Reporting Scotland Curriculum Special

Alasdair Allan begins to overstay his welcome at Pacific Quay as he explains proposals for "new examinations - after appropriate consultation with SQA and the educational community - in Higher Scots, currently scheduled for 2015, followed by Higher Doric in 2017. Fit like? Eh?"

6.30pm, Who Do They Think They Are?

A team of National 5 principal assessors go on a fascinating search for the cultural and historical origins of the new examinations they will be implementing. "It's very important to us, as a group," explains one PA, "to find out where our roots lie and where these syllabus outlines have come from. Just now, it's a complete mystery to us, especially the assessment items, and we'd like to confront the people responsible to ask if they knew what on earth they were doing."

7.00pm, The Young Apprentice Final

Sir Alan Sugar sets eight probationers the ultimate challenge: "Get out there!" he exhorts our young hopefuls, "and get yourself a teaching job in Scotland." Check the reaction of the candidates, who thought they were in for an easy task - like selling coal in Newcastle.

"He has got to be fucking kidding," exclaims Ruth, a second-year probationer recently "set free" by her parsimonious secondary school, which has replaced her with a first-year probationer for funding reasons. But Ruth is determined to succeed in her job-hunt, and sets out for the Western Isles. "They're pretty desperate there," she explains, "so I should at least get an interview. And if I can make it there - I'll make it - Anywhere!" she bursts into song as the credits roll.

8.00pm, 'Allo 'Allo

Alasdair Allan pops up yet again. This time, mass hilarity ensues as he tries to implement a second language in Primary 1, plus another in Primary 5. "I veel say ziss only vonce," he says in a serious tone: "One plus two will equal three - and bingo, you've got numeracy covered as well." An anonymous head joins in the fun with a caustic put-down: "Ah just wish tae hell they could speak English at the end of Primary 1."

8.30pm, I'm A Syllabus, Get Me Out of Here

First, the real kings of reality TV, Ant and Dec, explain how a new syllabus is born. "First, the QDTs (Qualification Design Teams) submit to the CARGs (Curriculum Area Review Groups). Then it goes to the Internal Review of Curriculum (IROC) committee, then the External (EROC) one, both of whom change every sensible piece of exam content that was there to begin with, and replace it with something impractical and unworkable! Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy!" (Viewer warning: this programme contains extremely strong acronyms.)

9.00pm, Nature Notes: The Disappearing World

National treasure Sir David Attenborough embarks upon a remarkable journey into the natural world's darkest, most dangerous locations in search of disappearing species. This week, he comes to Glasgow in search of a Further Education college.

"Until quite recently," whispers Sir David in doom-laden voice, "there used to be a whole colony of FE Colleges in Glasgow, all with their distinct identities. But now - devastatingly, for an enormous swathe of lecturers who see their lifestyles being threatened beyond their wildest nightmares by new employment terms and conditions - the 'Glasgow FE College' looks set for extinction."

9.30pm, Feature film: The Cruel Sea

Paul Little stars as Captain of the leviathan Glasgow College. Half crazed with power, he screamingly insists that "We are moving away from the stormy seas of yesteryear, and now - with a full complement of crew on board, no Stow-aways allowed, geddit? - are setting new courses for fairer future waters."

11.00pm, Newsnicht

A special Scots language edition of the nightly news programme.

Noo that schuils aw ower the kintra maun gie thir weans Scots beuks furtae ettle at fur thir Heicher Inglis, Kirsty Wauch and freends propose a pickle o teetles fur dominies tae gie tae thir scholars.

The nicht: Laird o thi Flees, A Keek Frae the Brig, an The Muckle Gatsby.

11.30pm, Late Night Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Pen Recorder

Classic Christmas offering as Education Chief Mike Dumbledore takes offence at being recorded during a meeting without a chance to practise his ad-libs. Co-starring "Captain" Kirk Ramsay as the Head of Slytherin who tries to catch out the headmaster - but all to no avail.

"Beam me up, Scotty," screams Captain Kirk (wrong film, surely? Ed.) as he realises that Dumbledore has rumbled him and that his hopes for a stunning PR coup and a favourable piece in The Daily Record lie in tatters.

This film contains several scenes of self-immolation that some viewers may find distressing.

1am, Epilogue

In a themed conclusion to the evening, Mike Dumbledore offers some reflective afterthoughts to tonight's Classic Film, recalling J.K.Rowling's description of the Death Eaters' forerunners in the Harry Potter series: "They were a motley collection; a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking some shared glory, and the thuggish gravitating toward a leader who could show them more refined forms of cruelty."

MD concludes: "I would like to stress that the aforementioned approach is exactly the kind of manipulative bullying that forms no part - no part whatsoever - of the Scottish Government's policies within the education department.

"OK? You do appreciate that, don't you? Good. Now, let us pray ..."

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