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Top dog;Jotter

A little-known SNP backbencher and former librarian may be emerging as the chief terrier on the Parliament's education committee. Fiona MacLeod took an exhaustive line of questioning last week, repeatedly demanding to know what the Scottish education ministers were going to do to consult young people on the education bill, (page five).

Sam Galbraith said he talked constantly to young people when touring schools. It wasn't enough to have "a wee chat," MacLeod replied. She wondered whether his department was aware of the latest techniques, such as role-playing, for eliciting information from young people. Galbraith must have blanched at the thought, saying ruefully that "it's often quite difficult to find out what children think, including my own."

The minister assured her, however, that he had a good track record of talking to children during his career. Time will tell whether he intends bending the same sympathetic ear to their teachers.

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