AS a primary teacher I must respond to Denis Bruce's letter (July 6). Our children have been away from the physical learning environment for 11 and a half weeks, not six months. During this time, many have continued to engage with their teachers online as well as using hard copies of resources. The opportunity to learn has continued as best as possible in the circumstances.

Mr Bruce pleads for emphasis on the solid foundations of literacy and numeracy. I can reassure you that the core areas of Curriculum for Excellence are indeed Literacy, Numeracy and Maths and Health and Wellbeing. We are well ahead of the game, even to address the mental health issues of our pupils who have had to cope with this pandemic.

Lesley Kent, Larkhall.

I FEEL certain that many Scottish secondary school teachers will have felt offended, as also perhaps that they were being patronised, by reading the suggestions advocated for reopened schools by Denis Bruce (Letters, July 6).

Mr Bruce appears to consider that during the current pandemic and the threat of a second spike, secondary schools should “trim the surplus fat of the fripperies of the curriculum that bog down the pace at which children learn”.

Furthermore, he goes on in fact to identify areas in which schools should concentrate as including “English, maths, sciences, languages and IT”. I would have thought that since significant parts of the academic areas he seemingly promotes are often largely textbook-based, there has been ample opportunity for pupils at home to continue their theoretical studies.

I would propose therefore that the curricular subjects which involve the resource-based application of technology along with those which are essentially creative and aesthetic are the ones perhaps worthy of deserving positive discrimination at this time.

Likewise, physical and health education are, to myself, obvious areas where pupils will be in need of extra encouragement and focused tuition after lockdown.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.


CONSIDERABLE publicity has been given to those working within the NHS since its formation 72 years ago.

Curiously, there has been very little mention of the debt which is due to the founder of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan, who withstood opposition at the time from those within the Conservative Party and the British Medical Association to his plans to create a service which would remove the fear of illness from the most vulnerable..

Should the appreciation of the care being provided by those working within the NHS become an annual event, this should be combined with the ongoing recognition of the foresight of its founder, Aneurin Bevan and the principles on which it is founded, namely that care is provided to meet the needs of everyone, that it is free at the point of delivery and that it is maintained on the basis of clinical need and not the ability to pay.

Malcolm Allan, Bishoppbriggs.


IT is good to learn that churches may now open for private prayer, but any ongoing ban on collective worship clearly constitutes state interference in matters spiritual. The Government has a plain duty to maintain public health, and so may forbid close physical contact, solo or collective singing, and risky forms of speech. It has no further right to prohibit collective prayer and praise, provided social distancing is observed. Public worship may be conducted without singing, or in silence, as is the custom of Society of Friends.

John Coutts, Stirling.


WE used to spend a penny to use public toilets. Now, thanks to closures, many people are experiencing serious discomfort, or not venturing out at all.

Charging more, perhaps £1, could allow local authorities to keep them open or supply more of them.

An attendant on the premises would also be good.

Margaret Pennycook, Glasgow G41.


SPEAKING about his vision for the Glasgow School of Art, architect Barry Wark talks about "swathes of architects" ("Grand designs: Architect wants to start debate with art school extension plans", The Herald, July 4). Wikipedia suggests as a collective either "an argument of architects" or "a confusion of architects"

Given that achieving consensus on the future of the art school will take years of wrangling before a brick is laid or timber cut maybe one of these terms would be more appropriate.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.