Educational failings reflect wider malaise in teacher training

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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has just issued a 176-page report into Scottish education identifying a series of failings, including ‘’pupils struggling with maths’’ (“Sturgeon signals major shake-up for schools”, 16 December).

And what does it recommend? ‘‘Rename the Curriculum for Excellence’’! Really? This will help the teaching of mathematics?

I would be a very wealthy man if I had been given £1 for every person who has unashamedly admitted to me that they hated maths in school. We learn from truly inspirational teachers. Why has our government not long ago instituted a detailed study of the modus operandi of such teachers in mathematics?

In the circumstances, we do a huge disservice to our children and posterity if we fail to cash in on the expertise of such gifted individuals – they are the very seed-corn of their profession.

Why are our universities and further education colleges failing to produce high-quality inspirational mathematics teachers, and why are they not required to set up specialist classes for schools in their catchment areas?

The German mat­hematician, Richard Courant, once said: “Mathematics as an expression of the human mind reflects the active will, the contemplative reason, and the desire for aesthetic perfection. Its basic elements are ­logic and intuition, analysis and construction, generality and individuality.’’

Ensuring it is taught well seems a no-brainer.

Doug Clark

Currie, Edinburgh

Another damning report from the OECD on Scottish education shows that the attainment gap for literacy and numeracy in least and most deprived primary schools is widening. This serves to underline that the current SNP administration’s education policy is failing to narrow the gap between rich and poor in Scotland’s schools.

Perhaps Scottish education would benefit from being retained by Westminster to get it into better shape for the future with the development of higher standards giving deprived areas more support.

Dennis Forbes Grattan

Bucksburn, Aberdeen

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