Can’t blame ‘Westmonster’ for Scottish educational failings

Lack of attainment among schoolchildren has more to do with parenting and reluctance to impose discipline than more “reform”, money and methods.

Two teacher friends have gone to three-day weeks, one has taken early retirement and one will resign the same day as the Named Person scheme comes into effect. Between them, they have more than 100 years’ experience.

They all hate Curriculum for Excellence and talk about children arriving at school in nappies, uncontrollable behaviour and children with real issues who should be in special classes, with the result that education for the rest is continually disrupted. One is sickened by the large amounts of free school dinners left uneaten and thrown in the bin. All are dismayed at the poor grammar and arithmetic skills of many recruits to the profession.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

How can an education system function like this? How much money is being wasted on classroom assistants and extra teaching and administration time because no-one will take a stand? This unwillingness to identify the real issues and tackle the sources runs across government, especially healthcare where obesity, drugs and alcohol abuse account for at least £1 billion of NHS Scotland’s £12bn budget, while 40-70 per cent of ambulance calls are for violent and abusive drunks.

I suppose the answer is it’s far easier to blame “Westmonster” than the real culprits and risk losing their votes.

Allan Sutherland

Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Dennis Forbes Grattan (Letters, 17 December) describes the OECD report on Scottish education commissioned by the government as “damning”.This is an overstatement of the report, which contains some very critical elements, but also some positives. Indeed, Montserrat Gomendio, deputy director of the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, said: “We applaud Scotland for having the foresight and patience to put such an ambitious reform as Curriculum for Excellence in place”.

The report noted “Scotland’s performance in reading dropped sharply between 2003 and 2006” before the SNP came to power. However, the genesis of the problem is less important than what the government does now to resolve it. Accepting the report, including some very frank criticism, is a good start.

Douglas Turner 

Derby Street, Edinburgh