As usual our school Senior Prom was an uplifting experience.
At the pre-prom reception in the school atrium, families get the chance to mix with the Prom pupils in all their magnificence, take pictures, and reminisce with other families and staff.
Taking pictures from the balcony of the 400 folk milling about below, it was easy to reflect on the success of the Scottish comprehensive education ideal when at its best.
A fleet of limos and minibuses then transported pupils and staff across the Firth of Forth to a hotel overlooking the iconic bridges.
A meal, speeches and "awards" was followed by the jiggin’. Magnificent dresses, Highland outfits and various national costumes hit the dance floor.
Staff, some on school business for the fourth night in the week, and others with Duke of Edinburgh Award outdoor trips starting next morning, found the extra energy to keep up.
The affection between pupils and staff was palpable, and there were moist eyes on both sides as thank yous were said and appreciation recorded.
In a vignette which caused a lump in my throat, I spotted one pupil sitting between two of our senior support team. The emotion of the evening was hitting her and, as she had throughout school, she needed some support.
One teacher leaned over and talked to her quietly, the other made a point of fastening the corsage coming loose on the girl’s wrist; they could have been her mum and her auntie.
There was nothing overly demonstrative about the scene: the girl wasn’t distressed and the staff weren’t making anything of it. They were just doing what we do as a school: listening and caring.
I well know how blessed I am to work where I do and with our staff and pupils; I know that, while others share such experiences, there are far too many areas in Scottish education where experiences are not so positive.
Driving home, crossing the Forth in driving rain, it was impossible to stare through the wipers with out thinking of Neve and Georgia, the teenage girls who fell to their deaths from that other bridge, across the Clyde, while being "looked after" by the authorities.
A recent report from MSPs made it clear that "looked after children" still underachieve in many ways.
If you want a quality indicator, ask the professionals who work with young people how confident they would be if their own children had to be taken into care – and hear the resounding silence.
While there is some excellent work being done, the provision is still unacceptably haphazard, undertrained and underfunded.
Our Prom was inspiring – but it was no more than our young folk deserved. As a nation, we should be seeking to make such positive experiences standard and universal.
It’s not enough to "look after" the most vulnerable children, we need to prioritise their needs; we need to make it clear that we do care.
As John Kennedy presciently put it in his inaugural speech: if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.