FORMER headteacher Doug Marr paints a very optimistic future for education in Scotland ("A report that offers real change on education”, The Herald , April 11).

The report by Professor Kenneth Muir referred to, Putting Learners at the Centre, does indeed come over as an evangelical treatise, but so have so many. I feel it is what Scottish education does best. I consider that the late 1970s Munn and Dunning reports also seemed to herald a bright future for our schools but I felt that the market value of a Foundation pass at Standard Grade lasted about a week after publication. Timetabling manoeuvres often managed to keep the curriculum as academically-biased as was possible in the name of meeting the needs of the most able heading for higher education.

What Prof Muir seems to have marginalised in his search for a bottom-up philosophy of educational development is the overpowering influence of our universities on the issue of curriculum progression. I believe that a reality check reveals that they will still want to control the standard of the Higher Grade for entrance into their hallowed halls and everything has to be reverse-engineered from that point back to a pupil's first year at school.

I suggest that change in Scottish education progresses at a glacial pace and I am certain that if you ask any teacher if they want more change they will ask if you are being serious. Not that I expect there will be any fundamental revolution, in spite of changing the names of long-established public bodies in the hope that people will mistake veneer for the real stuff.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.


THE possible privatisation of Channel 4 fills me with gloom ("Channel 4 sold off by a government in crisis? It’s a sin", The Herald, April 11). Here is a channel that is unafraid to screen programmes that would never see the light of day on the BBC or ITV. Not only that, each evening it presents quite the best news programme on terrestrial television.

It seems the Tories want to sell off the channel as an act of revenge because it refuses to toe the Tory PR line and "empty-chaired" Boris Johnson when he refused to appear and debate his stance on Brexit.

That scion of artistic endeavour, Culture Minister Nadine Dorries (claim to cultural fame, I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here), appearing before a parliamentary committee stated the public purse should no longer be raided to pay for Channel 4, only to be corrected by another member telling her (obviously to her surprise) that Channel 4 is maintained entirely by advertising revenue.

If that is the level of understanding of television channels within government and how they are funded, we had better be ready to fight for Channel 4.

Leave Channel 4 alone.

Celia Judge, Ayr.


WE know that Easter derives its name from spring goddess Eostre and involves many different images of rebirth, including an egg-laying bunny.

Christian religious believers engage with the spirit of the season by celebrating the Jesus resurrection story.

Last October Greg Knight MP pressed the UK Government to implement the Easter Act 1928 and fix the date of the Easter public holidays. Despite that this would allow better planning for children, families and businesses, the Government did not think it would be "suitable" to fix the dates "without input and agreement from the Church (of England) or other Christian bodies".

The religious minority interpretation of the festival is quite legitimate, but the ancient dispute about its liturgical date should not be privileged at the expense of working families.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society.


I HAVE just received a jury citation. Prominent on the invitation is a warning of "up to a £1,000 fine" if I did not concur promptly. I immediately responded by phoning the contact number (six times). No answer, although I suspect the phone was taken off the hook following prolonged ringing.

A threat of a hefty fine if I did not follow the procedure? Perhaps the public should be advised what penalty befalls the court staff for being unable to timeously answer the phone.

The goose and gander analogy comes to mind.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.


YOU report yet more opprobrium heaped on Will Smith for slapping the so-called comedian Chris Rock (“Smith banned from Oscars over slap", The Herald, April 9). The Academy Awards board has now announced a ban on Smith attending Academy events for 10 years, coupled with a grovelling expression of their gratitude to Rock for maintaining his composure, despite he being the cause of it all with his ungallant comment. I just wonder what the reaction would have been if, instead of Smith, his wife Jada had administered the slap? Cheers all round?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.


I AM surprised that research designed to help families improve their health and wellbeing ("Family meals are ‘causing stress’", The Herald, April 9) has shown that a significant number of parents dread family meals because their children will not finish their food, refuse to stay at the table, and complain about what is being served up.

I was fortunate as child and then parent that choice was always available: take it or leave it.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


CATRIONA C Clark (Letters, April 11) uses a phrase beloved of politicians, " hard-working families". What about those who do not work hard? The cost of living is a crisis for them, too.

My faithful ally Google describes said phrase as an example of glittering generality in contemporary political discourse. Political language is a turn-off for many voters; include me in. Nick Clegg promised "change that will make a difference". Well, what change would not make a difference?

David Miller, Milngavie.