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Charitable status and private schools

Rosemary Goring will no doubt have touched a few nerves of advocates of the private school system in the UK ("A sense of being in a class of one's own", The Herald, February 4).

I agree with many of her sentiments.However, when she says there is "no point in bemoaning" the fact that a privately educated pupil who fails to secure a place in further education is five years later more likely to be in a good, well-paid job than a young person from Pollok with a first in biology, I disagree with her.

Of course, we should continue to deplore strongly the inherent inequity of such a situation.

The Scots, in my view, are not as exposed to the class division, insofar as it is identified by the way one speaks, to the same extent as the English, who can readily identify among themselves those who have had the benefits of an English public school education from those who have what is described as a regional accent. The Scots are generally less easily cap-badged in that fashion.

The private schooling arrangements in the UK have done much over many years to buttress the class system in our country and we are much diminished as a cohesive and progressive society as a result. If the abolition of the availability of the purchase by parents of advantages for their children in this fashion is viewed as a bridge too far, then steps should be taken to remove from such schools their charitable status, with all the consequent tax-saving advantages.

Let all who wish to opt out of the state system be faced with the full financial consequences of doing so. The parents who send their children to such institutions are not doing so for reasons which can be viewed as remotely charitable and those who work in them have their own reasons for doing so, which, whatever they are, would not readily be recognised as charitable.

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road,

Lenzie.

News the Scottish Government is to spend £2.9 million to recruit 400 primary teachers would normally be greeted with joy by those interested in the future of our country's children ("400 primary teachers to be recruited," The Herald, February 2).

Those who are aware of the real reason why there appears to be a teacher shortage after years of over-supply must be holding their heads in horror at this solution. Instead of dealing with the cause of the problem, namely newly qualified teachers leaving the profession due to short contracts and large pay cuts, Education Secretary Michael Russell appears to think simply sending more teachers "over the top" and into teacher training places will solve this problem.

The solution to entice those who have moved away from the hardships of uncertainty and low pay is simple. Reinstating the pay rate for supply teachers would see the return of many who cannot afford to take the low pay now offered for day-by-day supply work – often created by the need for teachers to undertake valuable continuing professional development.

And offering a teacher refresh scheme that would see those at the top end of the pay scale replaced by newly qualified teachers, with the costs being met by the difference in salaries, would create a new generation of teachers who are well versed in the new curriculum.

If Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence is to flourish it needs well trained and properly rewarded teachers to lead the way, not ill-thought-out responses that will cost another £2.9m when these newly trained teachers discover they can earn more stacking shelves in their local supermarket than teaching children in local schools.

Donald Macdonald,

1 Clair Road,

Bishopbriggs.

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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