Readers' letters: Teachers deserve to be respected and valued

I was very disappointed to learn that serious consideration is being given to the use of primary registered teachers to teach secondary school pupils (Scotsman, 16 May).

It has always been the case that primary registered teachers have a valuable contribution to make to the support of S1 to S3 secondary pupils with additional needs in terms of basic literacy and numeracy skills. I fear, however, that this may turn out to be the thin end of the wedge and that primary registered teachers may, over time, be used more widely to teach routine subjects in secondary schools. Such a development would constitute professional dilution and would only make matters worse.

What is required in the long term is a fundamental shift in the attitude of parents, the general public, councils and government to the teaching profession. Teachers need to feel that they are members of a much cherished, highly regarded and vitally important profession which is a key pillar of society. They need to feel safe in their schools, to have their efforts recognised, especially in difficult circumstances and to be supported at all stages of their career. The occasional word of praise would also not go amiss.

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There has therefore to be a root and branch of the way in which teachers are viewed and treated. They have to be valued and to know that they are valued. All of this and more will help to raise the morale of the Scottish teaching profession and when it does lift, as it will, the other problems including those of supply will melt away.

Primary school teachers should not be deployed in secondary schools, a reader says (Picture: school teachers should not be deployed in secondary schools, a reader says (Picture:
Primary school teachers should not be deployed in secondary schools, a reader says (Picture:

Dr Ivor Sutherland, Peebles, Scottish Borders

Banking barriers

After 50 years, the Scottish Government is soon to re-open a new railway station in Leven, Fife, which will be connected to our national railway system. Hopefully the result will bring more tourists to the beautiful East Fife coastal area and perhaps even encourage new businesses to spring up in Leven, Methil and Buckhaven.

Little wonder then that I could not believe my eyes when I read the TSB Bank in Leven is soon to close its doors.

For goodness sake TSB, do you really believe that you will be held in high regard when you will be forcing the older part of the local population to take a 25-minute ride by bus to Glenrothes to do their banking. I, and many others, suggest that you reconsider your recent poor decision to close your Leven branch because it is you who will suffer in the long run.

Archibald A Lawrie, Kingskettle, Fife

Profit motive

Plans for a £130 million battery storage park in Bathgate have been lodged with West Lothian Council (Scotsman, 17 May). The applicant, On Path Energy, promises green electricity sourced from surplus solar and wind electricity.

However their statement “local people remain at the centre of our proposals” is surprising. Never in the history of planning applications for wind turbines, solar panels or battery farms have the local people ever been considered by the developers, only the huge profit margins to be harvested.

Michael Baird, Bonar Bridge, Highland

Shifting blame

It appears that Nicola Sturgeon is affecting to want decentralisation to local authorities in your report (17 May). Next, however, she says that she “wouldn't be able to hazard a guess at the number of times that as First Minister or as a minister… I have been hauled over the coals in the Scottish Parliament for decisions taken by local authorities.”

What decisions? This shifting of blame will strike councillors of all stripes as very odd. COSLA numbers indicate that in the decade from 2013/14 to 2023/23 the indicative share of Scotland’s overall expenditure limits permitted by the Scottish Government to local authorities has fallen from 34 per cent to 27.4 per cent, at a time of rising demographic pressures.

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Of course, Scottish local authorities have been forced to make unpopular spending decisions. On top of the necessary cuts to balance budgets, we were also forced to deliver partly unfunded headline-grabbing Scottish Government projects, like £150-a-head baby boxes, “free” school meals (inadequate provision for extra kitchen capacity) and 1,140 hours of “free” childcare. We all now face a looming local government reserves crisis.

So in what way are local authorities the problem, and not Ms Sturgeon’s government?

Cllr Peter Smaill, Borthwick, Midlothian

Look in the mirror

It is hard not to agree with Susan Dalgety (Scotsman, 18 May), who highlights the hypocrisy of Nicola Sturgeon going on about toxicity in politics. She played the SNP game plan of demonisation of others, spin, and stoking up grievance. She spoke of her detestation of another party, so it is no surprise that many there returned the detestation.

William Ballantine, Bo’ness, Midlothian

Nuclear power vital

Dr Ian Fairlie is being very misleading in writing that countries pursuing nuclear energy are using “old-fashioned World War II-based technology” (Letters, 18 May).

This is not true. Britain, Canada and the United States are developing nuclear Stable Salt Reactors [SSR] which use a range of fuels, none of which are able to produce weapons-grade material for nuclear weapons.

The electricity system in Great Britain requires security of supply which cannot be provided by renewable sources alone. What is needed is for both nuclear and gas generator capacity to be increased substantially over the next 25 years regardless how much renewable capacity is built.

In discussing our electricity supply system it must be understood that it requires to be designed as a single engineering entity and not developed on the basis of competing vested interests.

Charles Scott, Edinburgh

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