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30 years ago

Under one of The TES Scotland's more bizarre headlines (April 26, 1974), "Retarded pupils may become the comprehensive elite", Malcolm Bain, principal teacher of remedial studies at St Columba's High in Gourock, writes: Now that Scotland's largest local authority (Strathclyde) has decided to establish promoted posts in remedial education . . . will the formation of departments of remedial studies lead to the creation of a new group of elite pupils in the comprehensive school?

. . . the pupil in the department of remedial studies is more likely than his peers to receive an education which is appropriate to his personal needs. This, of course, in no way implies that the work of the rest of the school is inferior: it merely emphasises the original point - that a smaller number of pupils in smaller classes, coupled with a greater amount of contact, gives the children in question advantages which are not given to others . . .

At least one headmaster has already issued the caveat that unless care is taken in this matter the idea may get abroad that "if you're daft, you'll get a hurl on the barra".

On one occasion when I informed three boys that they would not be considered for an outing because of their troublesome behaviour, one of them replied in all sincerity: "But I thought these outings were for people like us."

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