IT was with more than a little hilarity that I read today's article about our poor teachers' desire for a four-day week ("Glasgow teachers support push for introduction of four-day working week", The Herald, June 8). While most professions have, if they are lucky, six weeks' annual leave per annum (including statutory holidays), our hard-worked teachers enjoy around 16 weeks – with a few bank holidays thrown in between for good measure. At the same time, their "working" day finishes at 4pm.

No doubt there will be the usual cries of "marking" and "preparation" time required in the evenings, and the added stress of perhaps a few parents' evenings. However every job comes with out-of-hours demands and few in the modern real-life worlds of business or healthcare – which, dare I suggest, offer a few more stresses and pressures than those of the average classroom – could ever claim only to work the traditional "9-5".

I'm puzzled how reducing teaching hours will, according to Ella Van Loock, "improve education". Obviously, for Ms Van Loock, these reduced hours would still provide the same – in fact increased – levels of salary. It is clear that her field of expertise is not maths or economics.

At a time when Scottish education appears to be failing at every level due to the SNP's blinkered focus on Indyref2 at the expense of everything else, it will be interesting to see how they will blame this one on Westminster – although no doubt with their usual strategy of buying votes with others' money, the concept will be snapped up to pacify the unions, at no time considering how it will be funded.

Steph Johnson, Glasgow.


I NOTE your report of long waiting times at hospitals ("Thousands left waiting in A&E for over 12 hours amid beds shortage", The Herald, June 8). I have just had real-life experience and it was not pleasant.

On Monday (June 6) my wife’s GP after a face-to-face consultation considered that she may have had a minor stroke. The GP sent a referral to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and I took my wife to A&E where they confirmed the referral – we arrived at 6pm. We were directed to the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) in another part of the hospital and duly checked in again. The waiting room at the MAU was full and we had to sit in the corridor outside the ward – and we sat there until 6am on Tuesday (June 7) before my wife was admitted to the ward for the assessment to commence, 12 hours later. During our wait, five ambulance crews arrived, each with a patient. Some of these crews waited for four to five hours. My wife was not alone with a very long waiting time. Some others were up to 13.5 hours.

It was extremely stressful and probably the most uncomfortable experience we have ever endured. The staff passing to get to and from the ward avoided eye contact and when asked about the exceedingly long wait it was put down to lack of beds – and Covid.

I haven’t a clue what the answer is but it’s obvious that what’s happening is not right and changes need to be urgently adopted.

Once into the ward the staff were very professional in dealing with my wife, so no complaint there.

The one saving grace for me personally was that I was worried at one point that I would have to drive home in the dark. Daylight at 6.30 am is perfect!

Eric Macdonald, Paisley.


I VERY much welcomed the article “Why we need to nurture and cherish the glories of Scottish literature” by Drs Pauline Mackay and Ronnie Young of Glasgow University (The Herald, June 8).

My interest lies in the fact that I had and still have an abiding interest in Scottish literature but in the early 1960s the state education system did not employ teachers who considered it part of their job to advise pupils on careers appropriate to their strengths and interests. As a consequence I took a fateful decision to become an apprentice chartered accountant in spite of knowing nothing about the profession. Nevertheless I can fantasise, some 60 years later, that if I had studied Scottish History and Literature, as the department was known before 1971, I might have become an early version of Dr Young (a less likely Dr Mackay) or even of Professor Sir Tom Devine. Well, why not head for the pinnacles of ambition in my imagination?

However, what I found particularly interesting in the article was the reference to “the precarity of arts disciplines”. I too hope that, in spite of the pressures from the money men (one of whom I was fated to become) within our grossly materialistic society, Scottish Literature will still be flourishing as an academic discipline within Glasgow University in another 50 years’ time, maintaining “some of our ability to equip the next generation to meet injustice with an intellectually honed, ethically and socially aware voice”.

John Milne, Uddingston.


YOU state that Agnes Curran made history when she became the first female governor of a male prison in Britain, at Gartnavel prison, near Strathaven ("Remember when .. Agnes Curran made penal history in 1979", The Herald, June 8). It was in fact Dungavel.

Brian Bell, Kinross.


UNSEASONABLY strong winds being forecast for the time of year ("Strong winds to hit UK later this week", The Herald, June 8) recalls similar weather almost putting paid to the D-Day landings in June, 1944, which have been commemorated in the last few days. Further stormy weather in the days to follow the landings caused havoc with the Mulberry harbour facility.

On the home front, as I will refer to it, in that same period of time as a young lad I was bemoaning the damage done to flowering summer garden plants, especially those of the taller varieties. An elderly man passing by made the remark: "Aye, laddie, there is always the lupin storm around now." Correct then and correct now.

John Macnab, Falkirk.