YOUR article on teachers’ de-registering will come as no shock to anyone observing modern trends in teacher training (“Covid recovery fear after thousands of teachers quit”, The Herald, April 12).

I suggest that the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has brought this potential crisis upon itself. For the vast majority of secondary teachers at least, unlike medicine, theirs is not a graduate profession but a post-graduate one. The result is that if anyone finds that the challenge of teaching is not for them it is relatively convenient to fall back on their initial degree qualification for employment. The instability of employment opportunities in teaching has obviously forced people to think again.

However, before the dissolution of the Scottish Colleges of Education teacher training structure, about three decades ago, many young people would study education practice in such establishments. This would often be for three or four years and they were usually fully committed to a life of school service. Entrants generally knew for certain before becoming a student teacher that this was the life vocation for them come what may.

I expect the apparent lack of many permanent contracts within our local authorities is a fact which the public will have sympathy with. However, such is the entrenched academic pretension in Scotland, I also expect there is no appetite in Holyrood to review the training of teachers. I anticipate that the generation of young people today would be looking for a more flexible life experience where they have a freedom to select not enjoyed by earlier ones.

Nevertheless, if so many teachers are leaving the profession it would seem that the consequent shortage will be to the advantage of those loyal to teaching still looking for a post.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.


REBECCA McQuillan ("We need a better approach to school: could the answer be Kindergartens?", The Herald, April 9) claims Malta and Cyprus are the only two European countries apart from Britain to have children start school at four or five. In Amsterdam they start on their fourth birthday. It’s real school, with the introduction of the three Rs and with one day a week taught through the medium of English. However, all is presented in an atmosphere of play.

Children vary in maturity; my own children were happy to start at four.

In Germany children are psychologically assessed at six to see if they are "schulreif" and if not they wait until they are seven. A brief assessment (in collaboration with the parents) would adapt the Scottish starting age to the individual child.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow.


ON reading Kevin Hobbs's Agenda article ("The ferry journey to net zero emissions", The Herald, April 9), I am reminded of Captain Sandy McLean of the Vulcan. When a passenger complained why he was carrying sheep on the bridge, he replied: "The sheep pay better and give less impudence."

CMAL ferries of today are generally designed around the requirement to carry heavy goods vehicles and cars. For every one ton of deadweight there requires to be about 4.5 tons of ship. The ship is made up of about 60 per cent steel, 25% outfit and 15% machinery; the deadweight is made up of about 70% vehicles, 20% oil fuel and fresh water and 10% passengers. As it was then, and as it is today, the vehicles pay more and are less trouble than the passengers,

Craig Osborne, Gourock.


THERE is no doubt that Prince Philip will be remembered with affection as a most colourful and personable, intelligent and enquiring royal.

I recall my mother's words in 1947 when, following the pain and misery of war, the colour and splendour of a royal wedding lit up a weary Britain. In feeling sorry for this poor but handsome prince she remarked: "He can now put his feet up since marrying our princess." My mother was a child of her time and a royalist, while I became a republican,

However, what a wonderful long and eventful life this prince had. A man of action and adventure and although adhering to the royal tradition of post-imperial Britain, did in fact shake up a somewhat dead establishment with his candid, pawky humour and winning smile. His long and steadfast devotion and his support of his wife will never be forgotten; yet his real and lasting legacy must be the enduring Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which greatly benefits the youth of this country and around the world.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

* BBC plans for coverage of the death of Prince Philip and other senior members of the royal family have been in place for years and are regularly revised and rehearsed.

Given then that scheduling presumably wasn’t done in the heat of the moment, you might think that someone in the BBC would realise that running the same programmes, good as they were, on BBC 1 and 2 and the News channel and on all radio networks was overkill and that closing BBC4 and even its UKTV digital channel was just bizarre.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.

* IT was ironic that the BBC devoted all of Friday’s output on three channels (four including the BBC Scotland channel) plus a good part of Saturday’s programming to remind us, interminably, how Prince Philip would disdain any fuss.

Could it be that someone in the BBC is angling for a knighthood for their services to mind-numbing fawning?

William Thomson, Denny.

* WITH all the memories of the Duke of Edinburgh, his gaffes and quotes, the one which appeals most, told by himself, was when he stopped his Land-Rover off the beaten track around Balmoral and asked a group of bedraggled youngsters what they were doing in such awful weather, and was told “It’s the bloody Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme”.

R Russell Smith, Largs.