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And now for the good news

The Additional Support for Learning Act 2004 was "very helpful" for able pupils because it now enshrined their needs in law, Margaret Sutherland told the SNAP conference.

And A Curriculum for Excellence offered a wonderful opportunity for more able pupils, she added, although many teachers continued to take the "Aye well, we'll see" attitude.

Education thinking in Scotland, she suggested, was moving towards a "constructivist" paradigm where children's voices were more at the centre of things.

"We are getting into the debate where excellence is not elitism and we are challenging stereotypical views of intelligence and ability," Mrs Sutherland said.

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