I WANT to congratulate you for your long-overdue in-depth pieces on education. It takes me back to the halcyon days of Barclay McBain who had a weekly, full-page spread during the 1990s. Now Catherine Salmond has brought in the services of a specialist, James McEnaney, to provide features of a whole range of the sterling work which is going on in our schools from the Borders to Orkney.

Scotland’s primary schools are highly regarded because of their flexibility, enabling them to make the most of CfE. Not only that, but they are embracing some of the Nordic approaches, including learning through play and outdoor learning. Early Years education is successfully moving back formal learning to the age of six or seven leaving space for creativity and, dare I say it, fun. However, secondary schools have found it more difficult to embrace radical change, not because teachers are against it, but because of the stranglehold of high stakes examinations.

For too long schools have been bombarded with negativity which is politically inspired and often lacking in evidence. The example of Curriculum for Excellence is worth considering. Over the last two or three issues of The Secret Teacher there have been quite different views. One has suggested that many teachers are so unhappy that they refer to it as the Curriculum for Excrement while another has suggested that there is a primary/secondary divide. The most recent Secret Teacher looks specifically at the secondary school ("CfE has created two types of Scottish secondary school”, The Herald, September 25) and looks critically at the recent report from the committee chaired by Professor Louise Hayward.

It is worth remembering that CfE was a 3 to 18 curriculum. Indeed, it was the first time since the mid-1940s that there had been an attempt to have a coherent curriculum. However, we also need to realise that radical change has never been popular in Scottish education. It really isn’t good enough for schools to present themselves as “authentic” or “sceptics” . Every pupil in Scotland deserves to be given an opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Professor Hayward’s report has been sent out for consultation and the committee should do its utmost to involve all stakeholders. Teachers should not be told what to think by senior leaders, the pupil voice should be heard, and parents should be encouraged to have their say.

In the meantime, I look forward to reading much more of James McEnaney’s coverage of education. I would argue that Scottish education is in rude health, but there are elements that could be better, not least having more teachers with permanent contracts.

Professor Brian Boyd, Lanarkshire.

Leave the medics to save lives

I MUST reply to points raised by Ben Colburn ("We’re told disabled people are against assisted dying. The opposite is true ...", The Herald, September 22). We have an NHS in crisis, short of thousands of trained staff, so now cannot be a good time to bring in legislation that needs medics to counsel, judge or administrate assisted dying.

Professor Colburn "respectfully" argues that the disabled do not oppose assisted dying but cites no evidence. The disabled already suffer and have the courage to face life even when losing support in these harder times. When we can assure good palliative care for all, only then will it be time to debate assisted dying.

"Slippery slopes" exist in countries with assisted dying. Ill people in Canada are treated by medics who by law must offer an option of Medical Assistance in Dying even when there may be no facilities for affordable optimum care.

We must not take decisions for people in extremis, but we must not load them with guilt when asking them to decide. We don't decide to be born so why decide to die? And why even bother with suicide prevention?

Leave the medics to simply work to fight illness and improve life. How can I trust the same doctor to save my life who agreed to help my loved ones take theirs? Life is sacred. Let's not set up another unwise law just because it gives us more free choice.

Alastair W Rigg, Eaglesfield.

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Solo effort

I NOTE the sad death of Scottish actor David McCallum, who played Ilya Kuryakin in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and received more fan mail than any other actor in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's history, including Clark Gable and Elvis Presley.

My tenuous connection with him was at the age of 11 winning a pair of black reflective sunglasses supposedly worn by "Onyir Todd, the Man from A.U.N.T.I.E", a parody of Napoleon Solo, Kuryakin's boss, in a Sunday Mail strip cartoon.

They had a competition for the best explanation of what A.U.N.T.I.E. stood for and I won with "Agents Used to Nail Troublesome and Inferior Englishmen".

Them were the days.

A few months previously my mother won a pink Pifco hairdryer in the crossword competition with which she used to weld her hair to her rollers.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

Storing memories

MANY thanks for publishing photographs from your Herald Picture Store. These are much more interesting than chocolate box photos of Scottish landscapes. They remind us of youth and life.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

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Clearing the mind

IS Hugh Dunnachie (Letters, September 26) confusing "shrinkflation" with "drinkflation"? I am sure that the former refers to the increasing cost of consulting a psychologist.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

When the game was a bogey

THELMA Edwards' mention of forgetfulness (Letters, September 26) reminded me of English golfer John Beck, who became Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, travelling to Sandwich in Kent, to play in an Open Championship.

A prolonged search of the records revealed that he had forgotten to enter.

Not quite the same as my forgetting daily where I have put my keys, glasses, phone or tablet.

David Miller, Milngavie.