Readers' Letters: Gender agenda is confusing young people

Driven by the far-left Greens, the Scottish Government is looking to bring in a gender-neutral uniform policy.

The drive to eliminate all gender distinctions is intended to help all pupils feel comfortable regardless of their “gender identity” or “gender expression”.

So, how's it going? Are we seeing a fall in the numbers of pupils experiencing gender confusion as “gender stereotypes” are broken down? No. Exactly the opposite. The more gender boundaries are blurred, the more gender confusion among young people. And that's a serious issue, as the consequences of gender confusion on well-being are wholly negative.

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Sex-specific school uniforms can help affirm a pupil's true identity and steer them away from the dangers of gender experimentation. In addition, the government's intention is to flatten distinctive uniforms by enforcing a bland casual dress code. That will be the end of the colourful array of blazers, ties and kilts that currently lend a sense of pride and distinctiveness to many of Scotland's best schools.

Classy kilts at the Queen Victoria School, Dunblane, Perthshire, in 1931. (Picture: Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Understandably, independent schools are raising a chorus of opposition to proposals, but where were they when the host of other disastrous education policies were being introduced? Sadly, the impression given is that most independent schools are more concerned about their image than in fundamental educational questions.

Richard Lucas, Scottish Family Party, Glasgow

School report

I was disappointed to learn that the standards in Scottish schools, according to official reports, are lower now than in the past when there was almost no rapport between teacher and pupil and lessons were drummed into the pupil.

However, currently, the records indicate standards in the primary sector were higher when I was a boy over 70 years ago and now the attainment gap seems to be growing. There appears to be an increasing ratio of pupils who require inordinate attention from the teacher to the detriment of the rest of the class.

I have also been told by professionals in and around teaching that the policy of Inclusion is significantly underfunded and so children with additional support needs are being neglected in mainstream education. They are not being provided with the resources they need and there's not enough staff to support them to learn. This negatively impacts achievement and attainment across classes because teachers are far too stretched to meet the needs of all children without appropriate training, resources and support staff.

What’s more, schools require access to services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). However they are facing waiting lists of several years. Often children do not receive support until they are in secondary school – it tends to be only extreme cases that are seen by these agencies. Consequently, problems are escalating, behaviour is becoming more challenging. Early intervention and support would result in improved overall outcomes for pupils.

Vincent McCann, Edinburgh

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sums

It becomes even more incomprehensible just how this SNP Government retains the support of a large section of voters. One can only assume that their single issue focus on independence and their disregard for sheer incompetence, ineptitude and arrogance blinds them to the real issues. The shambles that is the ScotRail network (brought into public ownership just seven weeks ago!) is now added to the disgraceful list of policy failures across all aspect of public services affecting the lives of all voters.

The ferries fiasco, BiFab, Prestwick Airport, the dropping of the target to close the education attainment gap, the NHS on its knees and waiting times off the scale seems not to matter one jot to the independence supporters – all will be well when we can demonstrate such utter incompetency as an independent nation.

I would urge such supporters just to do a few sums as to the astronomical costs of these failures and think how this money could have been spent in all areas of Scottish public life, including help during this cost of living crisis. This grubby, secretive and controlling SNP Government surely cannot stretch credibility any further?

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Transport travails

“In our experience, passengers want certainty when they travel”. These were the words of SNP’s Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth in a recent television interview. Yet under the SNP’s obsessive desire to control, nationalise and centralise everything, we now have exactly that. Train services being cut, ferry services in turmoil and we have an airport without planes or passengers.

Surely the SNP Government should be focusing on their day job and be spending taxpayers’ cash on improving health and education, while leaving the running and managing of transport systems to the experts. Otherwise our trains and boats and planes will go passing by!

George M Primrose, Uddingston, Glasgow

Failed council

After several years of a “left-leaning administration” in Edinburgh composed of a disastrous SNP/Labour council, Mairianna Clyde is shocked that Labour does not want to go down the same dead-end street again (Letters, 20 May).We should remember that this is the council which had bins overflowing in the city centre at the height of the tourist season and which presided over a Princes Street which is Third World, or simply abandoned. It was the council which allowed the “Golden Turd” to loom over the Edinburgh skyline and which thinks that an extension to the totally unnecessary, unwanted, unaffordable and unloved tram system is more important than filling in potholes which, I now see, have even got potholes themselves, so long have they waited for attention.The City of Edinburgh has had a 20mph zone imposed (at great expense) which, of course, is routinely ignored by everyone. Council schemes make drivers go further to reach their destination to reduce pollution. Like the narrowing of arterial roads and consequent slowing of traffic, this increases pollution, as anyone could have told them.Then, there is the Low Emission Zone which we, the people, voted down when it was called a “Congestion Charge” in a referendum. Our vote is, of course, to be ignored, because the SNP routinely ignore the results of referenda.

Andrew H N Gray, Edinburgh

Sensible snub?

What should we make of a situation where Labour seems set to run Fife Council as a minority administration when it won much fewer than a third of the seats (your report, 20 May)? This was its worst performance in the region since the first Fife Council elections 27 years ago. It begs a number of questions. A logical arrangement after the recent poll would have been for the SNP and the Liberal Democrats to join forces with a workable majority of 47 seats out of 75, leaving a divided Labour/Conservative opposition. Why was this not possible? If it is difficult to know what goes on behind the scenes in central government, then be assured it can be equally baffling in local councils.

Did the SNP leaders in Fife fail to convince the Lib Dems that it would give priority to local issues rather than using its large number of seats to help make the case for an independence referendum? Perhaps the more worldly, politically astute Labour intake was able to show that it would take the question of roads, potholes, care homes, libraries, housing, the local environment much more seriously than the SNP could show. There may also have been memories of a previous SNP/Liberal Democrat coalition in the area from 2007 to 2012 that was hardly a total success.

It is not enough for the SNP to dismiss this new set-up as “political chicanery on an embarrassing scale”. They need to ask if their negotiation skills were up to scratch. Laughing up their sleeves will be the Scottish Conservatives, who will now wield a fair degree of power in the administration despite losing half their seats in the recent contest. It means a lot of political intrigue over the next few years but is hardly a recipe for good local governance.

Bob Taylor, Glenrothes, Fife

Labour pain

I joined the Labour Party at the age of 17 and only left after Tony Blair’s ill-advised involvement in the Iraq war.

Recently I have been impressed with Sir Keir Starmer and really believed that Labour was on the way back after a long period in the wilderness.

That was until I found out that Scottish Labour were colluding in certain councils with the most corrupt, mendacious and incompetent Conservative Party in living memory, probably of all time.

Those councillors should be utterly ashamed. I will never vote for the Labour Party again in my lifetime.

D Mitchell, Edinburgh

Science fictions?

When you count cash you start by counting the notes, largest first, and then you count the coins starting with the highest value. It is very similar in scientific modelling; you start with the largest factor and successively add smaller and smaller ones.

Except in climate science where you ignore the very largest factor – variation in the sun’s energy output – and start with the minor factor of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The current climate warming hysteria is based on 19th-century scientific speculation, the 20th century Green anti-industrial agenda and 21st century pork-barrel politics. It is very largely bogus.

In reality, weather and climate are dynamic and are always fluctuating.

It is high time we replaced bought and paid for “science” with science grounded in observation, common sense, mathematics and, above all, integrity.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife

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