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'At's the way to do it;Letter

JUDITH Gillespie's splendid Opinion piece (TESS, January 15) marks yet another of her contributions to a positive approach to the true raising of standards. Yet a compilation of instances of good practice, as in the forthcoming Success Stories exhibition, amounts to the exhibiting of "object lessons", fragmentary by definition.

My mind runs back to something the UK, including a distinctive Scottish element, had not that long ago, valuable in promoting aspiration and valued when in most instances a school achieved fulfilment of its strivings. Something that was scuppered when the previous Government found itself unable to make available the modest few thousands a year required.

I refer to the National Curriculum Award Scheme. Such "staffing" as was needed was willingly or voluntarily given, with some local authority help and by a cadre of very recently retired headteachers and regional education officers. Submissions from schools were made and a day or a half-day visit made. The entire group of assessors met a for a day and a bit, keenly surveying reports.

For the successful schools the reward was a trip, with all others so recognised, from all over the UK to the Barbican in London - memorable for both teachers and pupils. Against the current assortment of ministerial and inspectorial menacings, I suggest, to echo Mr Punch's words, 'at's the way to do it.

John Taylor Woodlands Grove, Kilmarnock

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