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30 years ago

R F Mackenzie blamed discontent in schools on the examination system in The TES Scotland of February 22, 1974:

Get rid of the O and H grade exams and you'll get rid of crime in the schools, suggested Mr R F Mackenzie, headmaster of Summerhill Academy, Aberdeen, when he spoke on Sunday to a gathering of teachers, social workers and members of children's panels following the course of lectures on "Roots of crime" organised by the extra-mural department at Glasgow University.

Mr Mackenzie traced the roots of discontent in the schools to an examination system which undervalued the potential of most children, and he came up with a novel cure.

If no one could get into Parliament without, say, three O grades, the insistence on qualifications would soon be discredited . . . his main argument was with the whole education system which gave honours to the conformists and generated disruptive attitudes in the so-called non-academic.

The comprehensive dream, Mr Mackenzie said, was nowhere near the stage where all children were regarded as of equal value, regardless of class background and IQ . . .

It would take a revolutionary change to get teachers to alter their attitudes, since all, even the best intentioned, treated one set of pupils differently from others.

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