"Foot in Mouth" Disease

I had a wonderful visit to Longniddry Primary School this morning. The first part of my visit was spent with Headteacher Ann McLanachan – what a wumman! Her enthusaism, knowledge and energy are something to behold. However, to only recognise these qualities would be to seriously undervalue her true ability to empower her staff – a true model of distributed leadership at its best. I'm pleased to report that Ann will be leading a support programme aimed at the teaching of S1 pupils in our schools based upon all the Learning Team work she has been leading over the last couple of years. There remains a need for us for to match the learning experiences children are having in primary schools with what they might receive in secondary schools. Shirley Clarke told a story yesterday of an new enthusiastic pupil who went up to a secondary school teacher in England and asked what the learning intentions were for the lessons. The teacher told him to mind his own business and that “his” intentions were that he (the pupil) should sit down and shut up! Of course I'm sure this wouldn't happen in East Lothian but there does remain something of a challenge for us to ensure that experiences dovetail.

After my chat with Ann, Depute Helen Gillanders took me round the school – what a pleasure – I even got to teach a few bits and pieces. Anyway – to foot in mouth disease – over coffee Helen suggested that if things didn't work out for me in this job “You could always go back and pick up your chalk”, i.e. go back to teaching. Of course as a former PE teacher this didn't quite capture what I would do – and before I could stop the words escaping from my mouth I'd uttered the immortal words – “No I'd have to pick up my balls!!!!” Ooooh the embarrassment!