Readers' Letters: Don't let climate change take over curriculum

Education secretary Jenny Gilruth has been urged to put focus on climate change above all else in schools (Picture: Nick Mailer)Education secretary Jenny Gilruth has been urged to put focus on climate change above all else in schools (Picture: Nick Mailer)
Education secretary Jenny Gilruth has been urged to put focus on climate change above all else in schools (Picture: Nick Mailer)
There is a pattern in the SNP’s introduction of new laws in Scotland. What happens is that a minority pressure group divorced from the commonsense thinking of the overwhelming majority of Scots comes up with a demand and convinces indolent politicians that it will be great and good.

We have seen the this in the named person scheme, minimum unit pricing, anti-oil and gas production, anti-wood stoves, gender change, hate crime legislation, Gaelic signage, numerous green issues and anti-motorist plans. In the offing another pressure group insists that a new compulsory subject, climate change, must be introduced into the school curriculum.

Step forward “Teach the Future Scotland”, part of Teach the Future UK, Curriculum for a Changing Climate which is pressurising the education secretary, Jenny Gilruth, to include “climate justice” across the curriculum and “the climate emergency” in teacher training, prioritise “sustainability” in school inspections, and prioritise all schools to be retrofitted to meet net zero targets.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As a retired geography teacher I think this is a very bad idea. Leaving to one side the fact that there is no climate emergency, but there is climate alarmism, if followed, all these demands would make education worse. Last December, after the latest PISA report, the BBC's James Cook said “Scotland's performance in maths, science, and reading has been on a downward trend for 15 years”. He should have added, “since the SNP government took power”. The last thing Ms Gilruth should do is adopt Teach the Future Scotland's manifesto.

Five years ago pupils were allowed to walk out of school to protest about the government's supposed lack of action in “tackling climate change”. The walk-out caused disruption to routine and contributed to indiscipline, a major problem today in some of our city schools. Pupils go to school to learn, not to engage in virtue signalling, and the basics of behaviour, numeracy and literacy should come first.

What is required is not additional extra burdens on teachers, but a concentration on the basics.

Do less, do what worked in the past, and do it better.

William Loneskie, Oxton, Lauder, Berwickshire

Dangerous talk

It was truly shocking and deeply offensive and painful to hear Dr Abu Sittah, speaking as the new Rector of Glasgow University, quote as a hero the convicted IRA terrorist, Bobby Sands. Indeed, a group calling itself the IRA sent a parcel bomb to Glasgow University in 2019, putting students and staff at risk of harm.

As a nurse who worked in a Belfast emergency department and lived in Northern Ireland during the Troubles I would strongly advise him to check the accuracy of his information and evidence before making crude inaccurate comparisons.

I would also remind him that the role of Rector is to be there for all of the Glasgow University students. He may wish to consider reviewing the origins and demographics of the current student population. How will a student from Northern Ireland, Ireland or the wider UK who had family or friends murdered or maimed by the IRA (a proscribed terrorist organisation) feel able to approach him?

Rather than peddling inaccurate mythology , how about being approachable and working for all of the GU students?

(Dr) Carolyn Crouchman RN FHEA, Seaforth, Edinburgh

Hate to say it

I am not surprised that the motion to annul the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 was rejected by MSPs. For the Scottish Parliament to have done so would no doubt have led to the demise of its architect, Humza Yousaf.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yet seldom has a piece of legislation been greeted with such anger and derision to the extent of being called a “Clype's Charter”. Police Scotland seems to have been left with the impossible task of interpreting what should be a “hate” crime and the subjective nature of the Act’s provisions reportedly has led to innocent people being falsely accused by individuals with malign intent. How did a pensioner apparently innocent of any wrongdoing come to be arrested by Police Scotland and taken to a police station for questioning in 21st-century Scotland?

Perhaps if the legislation had been called The Respect and Decency Act instead of using the emotive word “Hate” it might have been found more acceptable by the population.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Angry list

Recent events show us that big states have curtailed, if not completely stifled, our right to free expression of our views. In Scotland at least we have been assured that hatred itself is no crime, although it may be reportable.

This may be my last chance to openly share a festering hatred for the following ; liars, thieves, cheats and spin doctors; people who chew gum and spit; people who just chew gum; people who never answer a direct question; people who only pretend to care for minorities; people who abuse positions of power; ferry builders and pothole menders; people who are not fit to be in charge of public finances; people who talk too much; people who don’t agree with me .

If I am to be handed some fantasy sentence for these misdemeanours I will insist in seeing it out in the safest place I can think of – the Scotland I was lucky enough to be brought up in.

Alan Sim, Aberdeen

Chinese burn

A few days ago I had new timber fencing panels installed. Guess wherethey come from – China! I understand that nowadays China supplies most of the timber products we buy.

Isn't that crazy? Is it just because China undercuts local suppliers, even with polluting transport costs included? Can't be, as these panels cost about twice that of local ones of a simpler design. How many of the products we see in big name DIY stores come from China?Are our home industries being destroyed by Chinese imports?

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Fair dos

JK Rowling or Helena Kennedy, Russell Findlay or Adam Tomkins, who should we believe in assessing the merits of the Hate Crimes Act and the proposed Misogyny Bill?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Labour Party in Scotland seemingly support the recommendations of Lord Bracadale and of Baroness Kennedy, while the Tory Party in Scotland apparently oppose those recommendations.

Perhaps beyond the “controversy” stirred up by much of the right-wing media (attempting to further fuel a “woke war”), and even BBC Scotland, common sense will prevail and the wise and objective words of Kennedy and Tomkins will steer the public’s views of measures introduced by the SNP with the aim of building a fairer and more egalitarian society.

Stan Grodynski, Cairnsmore, Longniddry, East Lothian

Off track

I enjoyed your article about bus firm Lothian and its weekend boom in passengers, (17 April) but it's a pity your Transport Correspondent, Alastair Dalton, didn't ask the question all Edinburgh residents are asking!Why have the excellent bus trackers been removed and in their place a rolling timetable. These are are of no use whatsoever and have obviously come at great expense.

I and many thousands await a reply

Scott Miller, Edinburgh

Backward looking

The Mary Thomas paean of praise of public services run from Edinburgh (Letters,18 April) is surely an argument for leaving matters constitutional unchanged.

But on the same page such praiseworthiness contrasts markedly with The Scotsman’s leader about SNP austerity. As a former member of medical and science faculties at the universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen it could be said that I have a vested interest when advocating the maintenance of their excellence.

However, I am not aware of anyone who thinks that the higher education sector deserves the financial hammering it is currently getting from the Scottish Government.

Perhaps it has got something to do with the 1707 Treaty of Union – which, despite E Campbell's opinion that the UK only goes back 100 years, (Letters, same day) used the term “United Kingdom” in 19 of its 25 Articles – which the SNP wishes to abrogate. Perhaps the party takes issue with Appendix 1 of the Treaty, which states “that the Universities and Colledges of Saint Andrews Glasgow Aberdeen and Edinburgh as now established by Law shall continue within this Kingdom for ever”. Its policies are moving in the opposite direction!

Hugh Pennington, Aberdeen

Sharp bearded men

It's funny how fashions change. Now that the Army is allowing beards to be worn – although there were already one or two exceptions anyway, like Pipe Majors and Sergeants in the Pioneer Corps, if it still exists – there is a bit of a division of opinion.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Some old soldiers think that it departs from the uniformity the military favours. Others see practical problems, with bearded soldiers not being protected by tight-fitting face-masks.

The interesting thing is that any photographs of soldiers in the Crimean War shows almost every man sporting a beard that would not be out of place in ZZ Topp's lineup!

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts – NO letters submitted elsewhere, please. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line – be specific. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.