IT is easy to sympathise with Denis Bruce’s frustration at the current state of Scottish education (Letters, September 30). Reality certainly appears to be trapped between the relentlessly positive spin of the Scottish Government and the relentlessly negative spin from its political opponents. It would, indeed, be nice if the Government were to acknowledge problems more readily and if its opponents were to give us some occasional hints as to how they would do things better.

However, I am not convinced that the review he proposes will move us any further forward. The problems are well known. It is solutions that are hard to come by. Perhaps a more productive approach would be to find out what the “customers” expect.

Towards the end of the national testing era I was often left with the feeling that my pupils were in school largely to produce results that would show that the school and I were doing a good job. The perceived need to get continuously improving test and exam results, high proportions of our students going on to university and higher rankings in international league tables seems to me to be another version of the external determinism mentioned in a recent letter. Can we not determine for ourselves what we need, want and expect from our education system?

I do disagree with Mr Bruce when he talks about “taking it (the system) back”. If we wish to improve things we have to move forward from the notion of a Golden Age of Scottish Education when we were on top of the world (before international league tables were introduced). Education is and has been for a number of years one of the biggest open goals in politics. There is always something that can be seen as going wrong.

For all the problems created during its application the principles of Curriculum for Excellence, which appeared towards of my teaching career, gave me back the feeling that there was some long-term aim to the work I was doing with my students other than the production of results. More attention to the concept of positive destinations for school leavers, giving university, college, apprenticeships or simply just getting a job equal status might help us to move forward to the stage when we are actually helping our students to achieve their potential. Getting it right for every child, anybody?

Robin Irvine, Helensburgh.

I NOTE with pleasure Ann Fotheringham's article ("Inspired by a love of learning and family", The Herald, September 30). The media at present is so full of doom and gloom it was most refreshing and inspiring to read the story of her husband graduating from the Open University at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

If more of us could be inspired by a love of learning and family the world would indeed bea better place.

Ron Lavalette, Ardrossan.