Letter: School counsel

How refreshing to read John McTernan's clear and accurate analysis of the problems with Scotland's schools (Perspective, 11 May). It is, perhaps, uncharitable to suggest these policies might have been adopted by Labour when he was advising its MSPs, but he has hit many nails on the head.

The myth of Scotland's educational supremacy was exploded many years ago, yet complacency has crept almost unnoticed into our national psyche.

England's schools, while by no means perfect, have improved hugely over the past decade, yet we continually denigrate Tony Blair's reforms because they were for English schools, and were, therefore, irrelevant to Scotland.

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It might be difficult for the nationalists to admit we could learn from England, but until we are prepared to learn from other countries, we will never improve. Mike Russell has been prepared in the past to think out of the box but sadly, in the last parliament, he was too willing to accept Labour's failed policies and the educational establishment's resistance to change. The most important reform he could initiate would be removing control of our schools from the dead hand of local authorities. It is no coincidence that the most successful state school in Scotland is Jordanhill - the only one not controlled by a local authority.

It would require courage, persistence and bloody-minded determination to achieve that in the face of opposition from the teaching unions and the bureaucrats. But the rewards would be immense, and Scotland's schools could once more lead the world.

Frank Gerstenberg

Whim Road