AMONGST the many flaws in the proposed system of assessment by teachers of school pupils for the award of school leaving certificates, two stand out as clearly fatal.

First, there is no possibility that an assessment body consisting of thousands of teachers will produce the objective and consistent judgments that would enable the public, prospective employers and higher education institutions to rely on the results. The former gold standard of assessment would be replaced by a national lottery of multiple, subjective opinions, however honestly and sincerely provided.

In the second place, while schools are publicly graded according to pupil attainment, how can we seriously appoint teachers from these same schools to certify that attainment? That would promote a conflict between professional integrity and management demands that would increase the current rate of already-unacceptable clinical stress in the profession.

These and many other identifiable flaws in the current prospectus for education and assessment tell us that every time the politicians change the rule book, they make matters worse, as confirmed also by successive OECD reports ("Education faces overhaul in wake of ‘damning’ report", The Herald, June 22).

We can have no confidence in the current educational leadership and we owe it to our children and the nation’s future to replace that leadership and to promote a teaching profession with responsibility for the educational process subject to a broad legal framework and adequate resources. The need for that replacement appears to have been tacitly acknowledged by the scrapping of the SQA which, however, stops well short of the movement away from the political micromanagement which has brought about the current state of affairs

Michael Sheridan, by Strachur, Argyll.


IT should hardly be a surprise that the response by opposition parties to the publication of the OECD Report on Curriculum for Excellence is to pull out their bingo cards of appropriate political clichés and call the report a “damning judgment” while trotting out vague suggestions about how reform should take place. Education is, after all, one of the biggest open goals in politics. There is always something to criticise but, in the end, everyone is happy when it’s somebody else’s responsibility to fix it.

We now find Curriculum for Excellence, roundly bashed from all quarters, being described as “visionary” while our qualifications system with its “gold standard” Highers is seen as a 19th century relic which is a barrier to the aims of the curriculum. While many have agonised over our slide down international league tables few have been keen to acknowledge that countries doing well have tended to praise Curriculum for Excellence and express disbelief at what they see as our obsession with testing and exams.

If anyone is serious about achieving excellence or even just improvement in our education system is it not beyond time to put aside political and critical and replace it with collaborative and analytical, funnily enough two of the skills that CfE tries to inculcate? Listening to teachers’ concerns and working co-operatively with them to solve any problems that arise would be a start. As always, however, my breath is not being held.

Robin Irvine, Helensburgh.


THE OECD reviewers of Scotland’s education deplore "rote learning". Perhaps they can explain how a pianist gains proficiency without learning and practising scales and chords ad infinitum? Or how a chemistry student progresses without learning the symbols of chemical formulae? Or how a historian interprets the past without learning and memorising dates and events?

There is plenty to criticise in the Curriculum for Excellence, but anyone who thinks that students can acquire techniques without first acquiring knowledge needs an education.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


STEWART Daniels (Letters, June 22) asks whether any other readers are refusing to be marginalised.

By switching to Andrew Neil's new GB News, available on Freeview 236 , Sky 515 and Virgin Media 626, Mr Daniels will not find himself pilloried by someone opposed to the personal characteristics which he lists.

Perhaps, however, Mr Daniels should hurry, as advertisers, including IKEA, Specsavers, Vodafone, Bosch and others are cancelling or suspending their advertisements.

Wokeism is regrettably still to the fore.

David Miller, Milngavie.


STEWART Daniels asks "are there any other readers similarly refusing to be marginalised?" Oh yes, Mr Daniels, there are probably millions of us just going about our daily business in our own sweet way. I am white, female, atheist, heterosexual, comfortable with my gender, proud to be half-Welsh/half-English but for a long time adopted-Scottish, and free of mental health issues, but have to accept that my proclivity to talk to trees and large stones in a wood might cause some to doubt that assertion. I like being an "awkward old sod" of 82. Unlike Mr Daniels, being pilloried for my "characteristics" does not bother me, I ignore it. Maybe someone would quarrel with my liking for the use of commas, but that is their problem.

One thing that I cannot do is accept that the word "woke" is anything but the past tense of "to wake". Non-acceptance does not make me feel marginalised. I am too old for all this malarky.

I am hopeful that I am on a reasonable path in life as I am a devoted reader of The Herald.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


THE letter from John Walls (June 21) struck a chord with me. I, too, get exasperated when, wishing to ask an organisation a question, or perhaps complain, I am pointed in the direction of FAQs, never a human voice. Am I the only person whose Q is not FA? (No rudeness intended.)

Wylma Dunbar, Blanefield.