ALTHOUGH not a musician I agree with Bill Sweeney (Letters, July 13) that much more emphasis should be given to music in schools and the obsession with literacy and numeracy is ill-judged. By this ap-proach a computer could be described as “educated”.

Designating English, maths and science as “core subjects” indicates a narrow idea of education. Sir Ken Robinson, formerly Professor of Education at Warwick University and now an international consultant, says that art, music drama and even dancing are as important as these. (I would add philosophy and psychology.)

Sir Ken deplores the obsession with “standards. Who is to decide how these are set?

There is no logical basis for ruling that a set percentage of pupils in a particular age group should meet a specified standard in English and maths – or any other subject. No-one says that most children in an age group should have a specified standard of mental and physical health, resilience, imagination, cre-ativity or self-confidence.

Nicola Sturgeon asked us to judge her on her record in education, meaning test results in a limited number of subjects. That narrow “3 Rs” approach is, sadly, echoed by most other politicians.

The role of education should be to help develop the brain. Any subject can help do this. What matters is how, where and when it is learned (not just taught).

Music helps develop the brain and many important personal qualities which are applicable to other subjects. Unlike many of these, it deals with the emotions; all decisions are based on these and not on logical analysis).

The benefits to poor children by involvement in the Simon Bolivar Orchestra and its progenies are widespread. They gain far more than they would sitting in classrooms learning about fractions and the like.

Aiming to close the “attainment gap” in literacy and numeracy was always an ill-judged and unattaina-ble aim. In five years it was not realised. Now, with many poorer children having been especially disad-vantaged by lockdown it is even more unrealistic, and the time has come to jettison it.

Comparison with other countries has become even more irrelevant since children in China, South Ko-rea, Singapore and Taiwan have not suffered anything as much from lockdown as many of those here.

John Munro, Glasgow G3.