early 2022-#edu+ @ tol snippets

paul martin
6 min readFeb 9, 2022


More sympathy would be due to the unempathetic Mr MacIver if the last two years had not been unprecedented. Teaching has been clearly transformed, with parents gaining appreciation of what is actually involved. A lot of the extra-curricular activity is curtailed due to volunteers, eg STEM Ambassadors, not being allowed into schools. The last thing needed is pushy parents hogging the time of hard-pressed Heads who are struggling with budget cuts etc

Thanks for these but without graphs the data is less easily interpreted. Further what are the effects on teaching of such staff shortages — we hear a lot about the NHS little, in comparison, about schools. A glance at my Council local jobs page shows shortage in technical subjects and in one anci

Apart from posponing the difficult (eg “Low” EZ tax) until after local elections, there’s an absence of the SNP/Greens being in touch with reality: Firstly due to Covid19, buses are barely used around here; one reason is ancient public transport stock. Second, pavement parking reduction will increase conversion of front gardens to driveways — a noted primary cause of flooding due to less green soakaway areas being available.

Why not seize the opportunity of a modular exam structure, or a European-style baccalaureate?

I cannot see a Baccalaureate being adopted as it would advantage Independent schools too much. And as for the first opportunity: to quote directly from the mentioned Oxford report: “We might have expected to see that modular examinations were easier, or at least easier for some of the groups we investigated, but we found no such differences”. In the past two years we have been able to observe the benefits of a couple of “overhauls” of the exam system. It would appear that opinion is preferring the traditional approach. Yes, there should be a public informed ongoing review but I would venture that it would take a brave & capable person, like Michael Gove, to take on the vested interests as John Swinney discovered.


Like babies, grandparents need support and provide opportunities for families to come together and exchange views. I was left wondering between 70 years old and 23 later what point Jo Wallace-Hadrill would have felt that her father became too much of a burden

In Aberdeen there is debate in the local press (little at the Town Hall) about the vehicle restrictions on Union Street — the main thoroughfare. Buses, including ancient bendy ones are now redirected on narrow streets and the situation can only get worse with talk of a larger Reduced Emission Zone with proposed recommended avoidance route being past schools and across notorious 5 way roundabouts.

The big education agencies “create waste and eat up huge amounts of budget. Move that money down to teachers who’d be better placed to support communities and deliver the improvements we want”.

He adds: “We’re passing this responsibility to teachers and just telling them to get on with it. Neil Mac via Herald

Last time (idea from George Osborne) a windfall tax hit the North Sea various international companies withdrew from the area and local jobs were lost. In last night’s local paper the collapse of two large Energy companies is reported last year during the pandemic — I am certain others went under too. So my voting intention in the upcoming local elections in May gets easier. Not the anti SNP/Green, now nor Labour — the Hustings shd be interesting, if they take place

Not sure if Mr B has been to Aberdeen recently. A while back BP cashed in its large HQ by downsizing, now Shell is doing the same but relocating into the town centre to be more attractive to its employees. No, or very few, sign(s) of GE, ABB, Chevron, or other multinational brands But if you look around the industrial parks on the outskirts of town in such as Westhill, there is new Far East investment plus some local companies replacing the old monoliths eg Subsea 7, now just 7.

And this is mainly unwanted interference. Whenever one friend does this, her daughter cries “DNS, Mum!” — Do Not Solve. Listen without acting, or even giving advice. It’s my new year’s resolution: shut up, let them figure it out, DNS.

I just write letters


Aha. It now becomes apparent why the (never to be electrified ?) Edinburgh to Aberdeen rail link will not be invested in to mitigate the problems south of Stonehaven highlighted by the Carmont rail disaster. As usual the money will be used to support the Central Belt. The main accident report(s) detailing the event have been delayed. But early on it was made clear, by Network Rail, that little cash will be available to reduce the susceptibility of track to falling rocks; a problem not just up north. Indeed there seems to be some haste in the nationalisation of ScotRail and a potential devolving of the Scottish branch of Network rail in order to reduce the UK funding commitment.

Good article — there seem to be a lot of anti-maskers (eg Zendrive) around inc on ToL. I will save the link to this article

System inertia has again come home to haunt. For example, there have been Press stories of hurdles put in the way of foreign teachers to handicap them getting GTCS and other required registrations. I am unaware of the (not just financial) costs but I imagine for temporary teachers these maybe more than just a nuisance but prohibitive. This certainly seemed part of the problem enticing people back to the NHS recently, plus limited immigration due to Brexit.

Secondly, the inevitable rejection of TeachFirst (a UK graduate teacher experience program) seems a little precipitate, in hindsight. Vested interests saw off one of the largest recruiters of graduates.

I wonder if Michael Gove, Aberdonian architect of the modernisation of the English system, is contemplating sending in his CV to help.

Nice, balanced article.

(As for the Scottish administration saying that “there is an intimation that there will be no return to what we fondly recall as “normality” until the early summer” — Well, that has put me off a visit to Scotland until at least August.)

not backed by sufficient or credible evidence.

Our town Aberdeen is also one of those whose centre has, like many others, been hollowed out. Money was wasted providing dual direction cycle lanes on the beach boulevard and pedestrianising one part of the main street — Union Street. The buses now slowly squeeze through the side lanes, causing the odd shunt; we saw one Friday.

I’ve mentioned that, a couple of years back, when my father had a dizzy spell: Neither the first (fire&rescue) responders, paramedics or anyone in A&E or after his passing mentioned the possibility of a stroke. In hindsight one thought I wondered was whether this was deliberate, so as not to raise the carers worries.

A decade or so ago a more protracted diagnosis for a female cancer prompted me to write to various charities to encourage them to raise the profiles of such women’s issues. In the event society’s appreciation has moved on with various related campaigns in this area.

My feeling is that it’s an education/training issue.