ALLAN Sutherland (Letters, September 2) describes Scottish schools as “zoos”. Leaving aside the unreasonably broad brush used, as many state schools can only be described as excellent, it’s clear not everything in Scottish education is working well.

However, Mr Sutherland treats education as though it works in isolation from the rest of society when the problems of wider society come crashing in every day. We know, for instance that the attainment gap is to a significant degree driven by poverty, as are many of the social problems that scar our society, including our schools. These are not matters of educational policy.

On its own, if not doomed to failure, educational policy will take us only so far, when there are at least two other needs for progress to be made.

First social, health and fiscal policy need to be coordinated with educational policy. Only an organised approach will improve matters, when a piecemeal approach will disappoint.

The other requirement is time. There is no magic wand. How long did it take for us to get where we are now? Changing policy with every change of government produces only confusion.

How does private education relate to this? It is certainly true on an individual comparison that privately-educated students are no more intelligent than those from the state sector, but “private school kids had more confidence than me but weren't any brighter or better educated” comes perilously close to saying private education confers no advantages. I cannot imagine Mr Sutherland considers that parents who send their children to private schools pay the eye-watering fees to give their child no gain.

Among the advantages of private education that go unmentioned, Mr Sutherland omits that smaller class size is associated with better educational outcomes. Likewise, that the educational background of those in significant roles in our society is disproportionately private sector. How many of Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet were public school-educated? How many of Scotland’s judges?

A private education is not a necessary condition, but does confer easier access to an elite social network, with the subsequent advantage this gives their pupils.

Should the tax system give tax advantages to private schools in this perpetuation of privilege and advantage?

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Read more: It's pathetic to want to clamp down on private schools out of spite

Wrong to pick on our B&Bs

I FIRST came across Airbnb about 20 years ago when my son was travelling alone on holiday to America. I was pleased he was staying with someone in their home rather than in a hotel on his own. He had a couple of marvellous holidays this way and at the same time met some interesting people.

My understanding of the term "Bed and Breakfast" is that you stay in someone's home and they personally provide a bed, and breakfast in the morning. This was his experience The purchasing of properties to offer short-term lets is an entirely different thing. That is why I feel great sympathy for those who offer genuine Bed and Breakfast accommodation in their homes and are having to purchase licences to do so ("Two-thirds of short-term lets could close doors due to looming licensing law", The Herald, September 2). These are not the same types of business and should not be treated as if they are.

Sue Wade, Ayr.

Edinburgh Airport is embarrassing

I RECENTLY arrived back at Edinburgh Airport after some travelling in Spain. The small airports of Oviedo in Asturias and La Coruna in Galicia had much better facilities than those at Edinburgh.

These small Spanish airports had escalators, covered walkways and piers to enable access to the planes away from the heat and rain. What does Edinburgh offer to the visitor? A walk in the cold and rain from the plane to a bus, stairs to climb while dragging your cabin luggage and then more stairs to go down. Finally, the road out of the car park is rutted, uneven, and with potholes.

What an advertisement for the capital of Scotland to all of those visitors who come to the Festival and to see the sights. I am ashamed to be a Scotsman when their first impression is of some third world country where even the entry point is so poor.

Colin Gunn, Glasgow.

• IN response to John A Taylor (Letters, September 1) and Alan Fitzpatrick (Letters, September 2) the cause of Glasgow Airport's relative decline compared to Edinburgh Airport is geography.

When I started working in aviation in the late 1960s perhaps one in five of the population (including me) had actually been inside an aircraft, and for many of them it would have been as servicemen and women.

Since then the exponential growth of aviation means that you would be hard-pressed to find an adult who hasn't flown. When Glasgow Airport was developed close to the old Renfrew Aerodrome, situated to the west of Glasgow, it was inconveniently positioned for the rest of central Scotland. By circumstance, Turnhouse Aerodrome just happened to be on the west side of Edinburgh, and much better situated for towns like Stirling and Dundee and the central belt. Even the east side of Glasgow and towns like Motherwell are almost as close to Edinburgh Airport as they are to Glasgow Airport.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

Bilberry to banish the blues

MY alcohol problem - paying my wine merchant’s bills - is exacerbated by every hike in excise duty. If this already-outrageous imposition were increased to the level that has been mooted I would revert to doing what so many of us did in the 1970s and make my own. White wine costs almost nothing to make if one uses an ingredient with a high sugar content such as white beet.

We used to consider the only really excellent home-made red wine - bilberry - to be expensive, but at about 30 pence a bottle (3p per unit of alcohol), we would manage.

Before the thou-shalt-not lot go too far, they would be wise to consider what happened in America in the 1920s.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.

Is Crathie compulsory?

I WAS intrigued by your photograph of the Prime Minister attending Crathie Parish Church, with the royal family, while staying at Balmoral ("Royal affair at Crathie", The Herald, September 4).

Is it a royal requirement to attend church while visiting, a sign of good manners or a demonstration of practical hypocrisy?

Allan McDougall, Neilston.

See Firhill and die

RECENT correspondence about Taggart (Letters, August 24 & 26 and September 4)) reminds me that Jim Taggart may never have said "There's been a murder". In one episode, DCI Jardine said: "There's been another murder, at Firhill."

"There's a murder at Firhill every fortnight,", responded the dry-witted Taggart.

Partick Thistle aficionados will understand.

David Miller, Milngavie.