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OFSTED has been at work in Scotland, but before anyone in HM Inspectorate takes umbrage, a word of explanation. Ian Boettcher, a chief technician at Jewel and Esk Valley College, has been training as a volunteer signalman on the Bo'ness and Kinneil railway.

Just before his final passing out exam, Boettcher was being put through his paces by the line's signalling supremo, Donald McLeish, when another volunteer signalman turned up as a guest from the Bluebell Railway in Sussex.

It turned out that Derek Coe, who began his working life as stationmaster at West Calder, left the railways and Scotland to become a business studies teacher and is now a member of the dreaded OFSTED hit squads.

Coe is chairman of the Signalling Record Society and during his visit to Bo'ness he "inspected" Boettcher with a view to helping him in his final exam.

McLeish says the inquisition was thorough: "He even checked Ian's entries and writing in our train signalling book." Fortunately, no naming and shaming.

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