AT this time of year my heart goes out to the disappointed students who have not gained the results they (believed) they needed to have a worthwhile career, and those children who were never considered clever enough even to make it to the exam hall.

I completely agree with your correspondent Professor KB Scott (Letters, August 11), who writes that "external home factors such as poverty and deprivation generally outweigh internal school factors [...] in determining attainment in examinations". Coming from a comfortable working-class background, but one for which education was simply not a factor, I know what he is talking about. I had a comfortable, warm room and a good bed in a fairly crowded council house, but no desk, chair and bookshelf, as my own children later had. I went to a large comprehensive from which a very few accomplished children with motivated parents made it to university, while most of us, including me, scratched a handful of dodgy O-levels and Highers then left school.

By dint of a certain amount of cheek and enough self-reliance I landed a place at a specialist college, which led to a well-paid life-long career in a growing sector of the economy, finally completing my formal education at the age of 65 with a degree from the Open University. Education is a life-long process, and for many it is better savoured later in life. My message to young school leavers would be that your final school exams do not define you and they are not the end of your education. In fact, they're scarcely the beginning.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


HOW welcome it was to see you continue with your line of publicising, at the time of exam results becoming available, positive stories from areas of Scotland outwith those which can be described as advantaged ("The Glasgow pupil hoping her results will be enough to get into Oxford", The Herald, August 10).

So often the response in the media is to concentrate on league tables of exam results with the schools located in the least-deprived areas usually featuring at the top. The story about Teri Sinclair, a 16-year-old at St Roch’s Secondary in Glasgow’s Royston, who is seeking to go to Oxford, was uplifting and deserved to be told. Well done to The Herald and good luck to Teri with her future plans.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


I DO not often agree with Willie Rennie, education spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, but he hit the nail on the head when he said that the Government should bring back principal teachers for the Stem subjects and the sciences ("Concern as results reveal fall in pupils sitting language exams", The Herald, August 10).

It was a disgrace to do away with many principal teacher posts more than a decade ago, and have one faculty head in charge of a number of subjects, some of which this person had absolutely no knowledge of, just to save money. There certainly was no educational benefit to this practice. On the contrary, the lack of a principal teacher in charge of each subject was a retrograde step, educationally.

The sooner a principal teacher in charge of each subject is appointed, the better.

AM Crozier, Dumbarton.


SANDY Farr (Letters, August 11) asks why the Government doesn't simply require producers and suppliers to provide customers with energy at the same price as last year. No doubt he expresses the thoughts of a great many of us on the Government's role in controlling the cost of energy.

A contributor to Radio Scotland's discussion on the current crisis today (August 11) revealed that French-owned EDF, one of the UK's largest energy suppliers, is currently loss-making because the French Government has effectively required it to do that; to provide its own citizens with energy at a reduced price.

Although our country might be "energy independent", we don't appear to own much of it. And, in the case of EDF, there isn't even a windfall for our Government to tax. How did that happen, Sid?

David Bruce, Troon.


ACCORDING to a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy report, a dampened demand for electricity in Scotland as Covid measures took effect, plus favourable weather conditions, ensured Scotland exported a record net 37.3% of its electricity to England and Northern Ireland. It also indicated Scotland sourced 98.6% of its electricity consumption from renewables – that is, low or no-carbon sources.

Assuming this is accurate, and given that renewables are a far cheaper cost than fossil fuels or nuclear, I pose the following: 1) Why are electricity costs in Scotland going up in what seem disproportionately amounts given the aforementioned report? 2) Are we the consumers here in Scotland genuinely getting a fair price? Or worse, given the huge levels of reported profits, are we being ripped off by either suppliers or our collective governments?

Not knowing the answers to the aforementioned, I conclude by asking: should we the people of Scotland, based on this report now be insisting that the electricity suppliers in Scotland, should become, not a nationalised business, nor arm’s-length government companies, but community interests companies where the consumers are the shareholders?

Thom Kirkwood, Stirling.


REGARDING Tom Gordon's article on a much-belated "review of productivity" at Ferguson Marine ("Ministers to pay Dutch £200,000 for advice on shipyard", The Herald, August 10), I can barely believe that the yard has had the temerity to approach any possible future prospective clients to tender for work.

I would be surprised if even Scarborough's town council would consider the yard for replacements of any of their battleships in Peaseholm Park. The shipyard has a fairly small footprint, as has been highlighted with the Glen Sannox being launched early, whilst still far from finished, to leave space for works on Hull 802 to proceed further, so should concentrate on smaller vessels, Millport ferry-style, and not even consider tendering to build warships for Bangladesh, nor anyone else for that matter.

One would almost think that someone is out to demean our fine shipbuilding heritage even further than it has been already.

George Dale, Beith.