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The things they hear on a Bearsden bus

Bart McGettrick, who fills in as principal of St Andrew's College when not influencing most things in Scottish education, was at his deadpan best when addressing Edinburgh heidies last week.

With a style reminiscent of the late American comedian George Burns, the Glasgow principal wondered if they could hear him at the back and then doubted the wisdom of asking because he recalled a previous meeting when a listener at the back raised his hand to say he could not hear.

"It's OK," said someone at the front. "I'll change places with him."

Speaking directly to an audience was not the most effective approach, McGettrick continued. "It is only about 5 per cent efficient. So if the eight of you would like to come to the front . . ."

As a leader in Catholic education, McGettrick also recalled a chastening encounter when he overheard a conversation between two prospective teachers. One confided: "What a weekend I've had. We've got these exams."

"What have you got?" asked her pal.

"Li-eracy and oracy," came the glottal stop reply.

Her pal confessed to a hard weekend as well. "We've got religious education and I've been studying the resurrection . . . I hope it comes up."

It is not known if they passed.

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