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You're not so late if your name starts with W

"Attendance, attendance, attendance" could well be the Government's new education slogan in Scotland. But it looked at one stage last week as though Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, was going to fall foul of this agenda, running late at the Scottish Office conference on attendance and absence.

But timekeeper-in-chief Douglas Osler kept his introductory remarks brief and Brian Wilson kicked off bang on time at 10.35am - and so disappeared a good headline: "Minister turns up late for school attendance conference."

Osler also found himself in the unusual position of having to read out the fire-drill rules. This is apparently required to precede any gathering at the Scottish Office's modernistic Victoria Quay headquarters in Edinburgh.

He gave a passable impression of an airline steward's mantra: "You will find the emergency exits . . ." Alas for the photographic record, he did not don a life-jacket although there is a stretch of water outside the building.

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