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30 years ago

Writing in The TES Scotland (December 26, 1975), Alexander Maxwell, headteacher of Ardrishaig primary in Argyll, called for more attention to be paid to primary education and more money to be spent on it: If the current ignorance and apathy about reading are depressing, much could be done. If only one teacher in each primary school took the Open University course on reading development, much could be achieved. If the odd adviser could be spared for a course in reading at a good college, even more could be done.

The inadequate, fully trained infant teacher does not exist, presumably because she has faced her difficulties and been given help to overcome them. The upper primary teacher could do the same. The literate and numerate pupils they would produce would make real demands upon their teachers and real learning would take place all the time in all our schools.

One last reason for putting more money into primary schools is that it would be spent entirely on educational objectives, and not on social objectives.

Everybody believes in the primary school. Nobody believes that the pupils should leave before they do, and a very minimum of compulsion is necessary to ensure that they attend. Most of the customers seem to enjoy themselves, and find fulfilment.

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