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Twinkling star;Jotter

Argyll director Archie Morton was faced with some tricky questions at last week's education committee. Robert Macintyre of the Independents was not too convinced by figures from the registrar general estimating an 18 per cent fall in the local school population by 2013.

"Who is the soothsayer who is predicting the family planning habits in Argyll over the next 15 years?" he demanded to know. Thus it was that Morton found himself explaining the finer points of average reproductive rates and trends in raising families among those of child-bearing age.

But he conceded: "Children will be born in 2000 whose parents have not yet met or who are not even a twinkle in their parents' eye." The expertise of the directorate is wondrous indeed.

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