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The BBC, school governance and the wheelie bin

Yesterday was a long day for Keir: work began at 7 am when Radio Scotland were due to interview him live at Landrick before he left for Holyrood Magazine's conference in Edinburgh, and ended after midnight when BBC Scotland's taxi returned him from Glasgow after Gordon Brewer had interviewed him on Newsnight. On iPlayer, the item begins at minute 12 and Keir's studio interview runs from minutes 14 to 20.

In between, he gave the keynote address at the conference Managing Scotland's Schools. His message has clearly struck a chord not just with the delegates and with the media, but also with the world at large. In essence, Keir wants fresh thinking on the governance of schools. He wants to empower schools and teachers, rather than rely on the outdated command-and-control model whereby councils make many of the important decisions and commit most of the spending in the traditional top-down fashion. Decisions should be delegated to the level closest to the impact of those decisions.

In BBC Scotland's lunchtime news, this was the lead item, complete with reaction from the critics: the BBC website currently hosts this Call for revamp of Scottish school system. By evening, Scottish Television had broadcast their own report, currently on their website under Former education chief calls for change to schooling structure with comments from Mike Russell among others.

There was also plenty of newspaper coverage yesterday: the Times ran a long story on page 11 and the Herald had it front-page, under the misleading headline Scrap council control of schools, urges expert, although its editorial was more thoughtful and generally supportive. The Scotsman ran it under the heading Call for 'massive power shift' to headteachers by Andrew Whitaker.

It remains to be seen if this story is a one-day wonder, or if the debate will pick up momentum. Meantime, here is my crucial contribution to Radio Scotland's technical team early yesterday morning: the wheelie bin in which I had been sweeping up the autumn leaves. To make their Dounreay-style satellite link work, the antenna had to be propped up at the critical angle:

wheeliebinS.jpg

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