REGARDING education, Covid revealed the following:

1. Schools close and the reverberations hit the economy.

2. Parents begin to realise why teachers can spend up to four years in university learning the curriculum and how to teach it or, with Honours graduates, another year training to teach.

3. Teachers continue to work their fingers to the bone to convert/deliver lessons online which the week before had been taught in class. They also deliver food parcels or anything else that it is within their power to aid their pupils.

4. Exams are cancelled and then Government backtracks on a decision to assess coursework, ignore teachers' recommendations and trust the pupils' futures to a statistical model and in the process, in regards to the efforts of teachers to continue despite all obstacles, adds insult to injury. Let's recall that old saying - "there's lies, damned lies and then there's statistics".

5. The reason for not assessing coursework of course was that poorer pupils may not have had access to laptops/computers or parental support re home schooling. To assess the work would have provided evidence of the continuing disparity between social groups.

6. Consequently, that would have of course laid bare the lack of success in general in improving the lot of the working class, the "levelling-up" of society, closing the attainment gap, improving social mobility.

7. The model employed based on previous records, actually reinforces the attainment gap and now we have the statistics to prove it. Any occurrence of improvement is considered a mere blip on the graph; the blip represents the hopes and ambitions of a human being.

The whole process smacks of inertia in the face of adversity, compounding the calamity visited upon us. The lack of respect for the teaching profession by the Government is a disgrace. It now dictates that, not only do teachers pick up the pieces but risk their health in the process. It seeks to enlist more teachers to deal with the conditions Covid sets; it will be fortunate to convince teachers in post to remain.

Maureen McGarry-O'Hanlon, Balloch.

THE SQA, by setting its historical precedent to downgrade students' results on the grounds of the areas their schools were in, has delivered an almighty and metaphorical slap in the face to all those teachers who in all sincerity presented the grades they felt their students merited on the basis of their performances throughout their abbreviated certificate year. This decision has called into question the professionalism of the classroom practitioners.

What is also inexcusable is the the degradation imposed upon the high hopes of pupils who were clearly A students by the devaluation of their efforts.

As a former member of the profession, I can safely testify that a teacher knows an A student when the teacher sees one.

No teachers worthy of the name would tamper with a student's results, knowing full well that this would be to the detriment of a pupil's future.

There can be no doubt that the SQA was placed in a difficult situation as a result of the Covid-19 shutdown, but it ought to have shown more resilience and sensitivity in its approach to the delivery of results which should have reflected the reality of the actual performance of any student rather than the historical performance of any school.

There can be no doubt that we will hear much more about this unhappy state of affairs

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

NICOLA Sturgeon says she wishes to be judged on her ability to close the education achievement gap between the better-off and the poorest in Scotland. A worrying aspect of the SQA fiasco is the fact that it seems designed to reinforce the achievement gap and even embed it in the system. By choosing to dictate that able students from poorer families cannot be given credit beyond some statistical average it sends the message that they shouldn't even bother trying.

Given that the rules for Scottish university entrance favour middle-class EU applicants over working-class Scottish students, you would be forgiven for believing that, far from wishing to close the gap by improving the lot of our less-well-off, the SNP is designing a system which reinforces an already unfair disadvantage and bakes that disadvantage into the system, to the further detriment of working-class Scottish pupils.

Alex Gallagher, Labour Councillor, North Ayrshire Council, Largs.

AND now for some facts.

Those exam results were assessments by the teachers. You know, the folk who know the pupils. They were not by the Scottish Government or by John Swinney. They were presented to the SQA, the body that supervises exams in Scotland. It felt some of the assessments were a bit generous. So it marked them down a little. These amended results still show an improvement on previous years and, please note, the results from the schools in disadvantaged areas show the biggest improvement. Sadly not all pupils pass all exams of course, but all pupils of course have the right to appeal.

Those who (and we know who they are) seek to make political capital by distorting this very delicate situation are a disgrace.

David McEwan Hill, Sandbank, Argyll.

Read more: Letters: Is it right that the SQA should take a kicking?