Sunday, April 24, 2005
The Disgrace Of Scottish Education
Gail got up a while later and we started tidying the house. My sister Fiona dropped by for a cup of tea and to see the new house after a night out in Edinburgh on her way back up to Perth. She's training to be a Primary School teacher and has about seven weeks of the course to go.
Her next placement is in a Catholic Primary. Yes - despite it being the 21st Century, we still have separate schools in Scotland. 'Us and them' is still the policy; no wonder there is so much bigotry in Scotland.
Another thing I think is an absolute disgrace, is the fact she has to Bless herself when she is present in the class when prayers are taken. Okay - so it's a Roman Catholic school and there is a heavy accent on religion throughout the daily curriculum, but why should a non-Catholic trainee teacher feel pressured to Bless herself when it is not part of HER religion?
Surely it is as much an insult to her as it is to the Catholic Religion, to have made someone do something they do not want in this fashion? It is not out of prejudice or any biased opinions - merely a sign of respect for differing beliefs.
I understand she is doing it so as "not to rock the applecart" in her teaching career, but the fact she is compelled to do so asks some serious questions of the legitimacy of split-religious schools.
If you are Protestant you go to one school, if you are RC you go to another. What kind of society are we breeding when the school kids, on the behest of their parents, walk down one side of the road in red, white and blue and on the other green? Don't these people know this is where the problems start?
I lost a friend once when I put it to him that if he were to send his kid to a non-denominational school, maybe it would be the start of the breakdown of religious hatred. He went into a rage over it being his choice and nothing to do with me. So now we have another Proddy-hating, IRA supporter in the making.
It works on the other side of the fence too. The Billy Boys of yesteryear spawn babies and take away their innocence by brainwashing them of with the glory of the UVF and a warped sense of what the Monarchy really stands for.
This is my country - our country - and it is these knuckle-draggers that are destroying it and making us the laughing stock of the world. Who the hell are we to try to sort out the Middle East problems when we have this kind of thing going on in our own back yard?
I say we ban individual school based on religion and bring the children of our nation back together. Maybe them we can start to move forward and flush out the parochial bigots that exist in too many of our towns and cities.
After Fiona left we got to work around the house again. I cleaned and polished all the windows - a much larger task these days since we now have two floors and a conservatory. I did some work in the garden and took stuff to the dump. A mid-afternoon visit to B&Q for a wallpaper stripper ended up costing me over £40 as more and more stuff got added to the pile.
I made a nice dinner after everything was done; lemon chicken and basmati rice, which we eat in the conservatory in the late afternoon sunshine.
Evening saw the laptop out and I got to work. My planned conclusion of Hunting Jack issue by issue is not working but I am getting there by another route. Katie did something unexpected and I had to go with it - there was no other way. I wrote two issues and am now 14 from the final episode.
I have been getting e-mails from my editor about how serials are meant to go on forever. While I started Hunting Jack with no idea how long it would last and having signed a 9-month contract, I knew it would not be a completely on-going story like she wanted. Some of the other authors have been going for well over 18 months and still going strong, so I hope I am doing the right thing with this.
I doubt I will renew my contract but it depends if that means Hunting Jack would be removed from publication in that format. Writing it has taken so much energy and commitment I want to move into other things when it is over.
Before I go, some of you asked about he fate of the man who was threatening to kill himself off the North Bridge on Edinburgh on Saturday.
He's okay, "but has been taken away to safety" - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4476719.stm
As a non-Catholic who attends weekly Mass, I have to agree with you. I don't bless myself and I don't think I ever have. I don't take communion, but I do kneel (just because I'd looked pretty stupid if everyone else was kneeling and I was still sitting on my butt in the pew!).
I'm sending you an email regarding the serial.