I NOTE that in the current debate on falling attainment in Scottish schools, teachers are being blamed for “teaching to the test”.

I realise that I am no doubt out of date, but I should be grateful to know what that really means. I assume, for example, the “test”, whatever that is, reflects the aims and objectives of a particular course. If I am correct, what is wrong with teaching to meet those targets?

From my experience, teachers invariably taught and teach well and effectively by taking account of the stated guidance on a subject, which, sensibly in my view, also related to any related assessment advice. Perhaps if the current curriculum had been developed with good texts, rather than assuming that “empowerment” meant hard-working teachers slogging late into the night having to make their own of what was expected, there would be higher morale among them and clearer evidence of improving standards of achievement. Was nothing learned from earlier curriculum developments?

Has the international panel of advisers and Education Scotland, along with those involved in developing, presumably, sensible and pragmatic assessment procedures considered that there might just have been some basic flaws in the basic design of Curriculum for Excellence and the finger of criticism is being pointed in the wrong direction?

GPD Gordon, Bearsden.

Quiet, please

MANY will empathise with the list of frustrations encountered by Catriona Stewart in her recent visits to both the cinema and theatre ("Bring back ushers for audiences who can't behave", The Herald, January 21). Other instances of persons either kicking the back of your seat or pressing their knees thereon occasion annoyance. However, in the pecking order of overall disturbance are those who arrive late, especially after the interval break, armed with a slopping carton of their chosen beverage.

There is a time and place for most things. The business and provisions of the bar or snack counter should not be allowed to overflow into the auditorium.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with Catriona Stewart.

I was at the Edinburgh performance of the Snow Queen, which we thoroughly enjoyed. However, there were two females behind us, not that young, who were rustling papers and whooping and hollering at every opportunity.

I think there's a time and a place, and during a performance is not the time.

There were young children sitting along from us who were far more composed.

A ballet performance has so much to teach us, not least how to behave in a theatre.

Janet Storry, Fauldhouse.

Just the trick

REGARDING the Bridge article last Saturday (The Herald, January 18), surely the best play is to ruff the opening lead with the 6 (not the 2) and play the heart 7 to the 10.

1) If East ducks, you can have the pleasure of running the 5 at trick three, decapitating his king in the process.

2) If East wins with the king, you can win the return and play the carefully preserved heart 2 to the 5, diamond queen, diamond to the 10, draw trump, diamond ace and Bob's your uncle.

John Macnab, Troon.