Taking charge

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Walter Markham (Letters, 
8 May) is right to say that pupils’ success depends more on health, diet and exercise than on schooling. Problems with these are not limited to poor families. Governments have repeatedly urged people to improve their health, but with limited success. It is unlikely they will do any better in improving literacy and numeracy. This authoritarian “top down” approach is ill-conceived

Until most people take personal responsibility for their own and their families health and education, little will change. Teaching pupils to do so should be a key aim of schooling.

It is astonishing that lack of suitable homes is not more widely seen as a health and education issue. Many households with children live in flats where there is often no play-space on-site or close by, while an area for study is necessary but unavailable in many homes.

Central and local governments pay lip service to the need for “joined-up thinking” and inter-service co-operation, but lack the will and ability to make it happen on an adequate scale. Linking health and social services is sensible, but has been far from easy. The need is to better link education and planning to these and to each other.

Alan Mathieson

Glasgow Road

Perth

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