25 Years Ago

Fewer than half of the 21 Lanarkshire primary schools which took part in a recent survey of reading practices gave any test of reading ability to pupils past the infant stage.

Replying to a questionnaire prepared by a group of local teachers and college lecturers, 11 of the schools listed no testing at all in P4-7, two tested poor readers only, and three tested occasionally. Of the five who tested regularly, once or twice a year or after every change of class, all used Schonell, and one added other tests.

* The Secretary of State for Scotland this week issued a circular on two sets of primary staffing standards. The first, to be introduced in August, will produce in a traditionally organised school an average class size of at most 35. When the second set of standards are attained in 1975-76, the average size of class in such a school will have fallen to at most 30.

* The 50,000 teachers in Scottish schools and further education have had their pay claim referred to arbitration. The arbiters will be appointed by Mr Robert Carr, Secretary of State for Employment, in terms of the 1967 Act which governs Scottish teachers' salary negotiations.

After the breakdown of negotiations the EIS, SSTA and SSA (Scottish Schoolmasters' Association) issued a joint statement in which they criticised a 7 per cent increase as tantamount to a cut in teachers' standard of living.

* Banffshire's report on the raising of the school leaving age is unconventional in that it avoids high-minded statements about doing away with the divisions between certificate and non-certificate pupils. RSLA, as Banffshire sees it, is about the non-certificate pupils in S3 and S4, some of whom of course may transfer to certificate courses. Some would hold this to be negative thinking, others would regard it as welcome frankness.

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