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Cameron Wyllie and Alison Colwell - Head Teacher Tales

Cameron Wyllie and Alison Colwell - Head Teacher Tales


Cameron Wyllie and Alison Colwell - Head Teacher Tales


Aye Write

Dates and times

Saturday 21 May 2022
3:00PM - 4:00PM

Two Head Teachers from very different schools tell tales from the classroom and staffroom.

Is There a Pigeon in the Room? is a deeply personal book about Cameron Wyllie’s remarkable four-decade career in teaching. It’s a tapestry of anecdotes and reflections on topics like drugs, parenting, refugees, tragic events, his own status as a gay man and tells us the story of Tes, an Eritrean boy who inspired hundreds of young people with his love of education.

Cameron taught over 8,000 students in his career. Having been once described as ‘the place where Jean Brodie meets Kenneth Williams’ the book also charts the surprising trajectory of a career which culminated in his appointment as Principal of George Heriot’s, one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious schools.


No Excuses charts an extraordinary principal’s journey in diary form from the moment she took over at a failing secondary school in a deprived area of the country, where less than a quarter of children attained five or more A*–C GCSEs, and how she set about the gruelling task of transforming its reputation using her zero-tolerance, tough-love approach.

Armed with only a wicked sense of humour, fearless energy and a powerful vision, Alison Colwell put in place a stringent set of rules, including a strict uniform policy and a complete ban on mobile phones, provoking resistance and hostility from some parents, the wider community and on social media.

Venue Map


Mitchell Library

North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DN