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Bus safety matters

I VERY MUCH enjoyed Joseph Kelly's critique of the Educational Institute of Scotland ("Bull toad day in the EIS canefield", TESS, April 9). His qualifications for carrying out his lofty and disdainful overview seem to be his attendance at a distant annual meeting and a reading of the current strategy paper and this year's motions for conference. Still, you can learn a lot about a country by looking at a stamp catalogue.

I was also extremely impressed by his sleight of hand when he seems to suggest that the EIS, because it supports inclusive education, should therefore be in favour of denominational schools which are by definition exclusive in the pupils they teach and the staff they employ. The reductio ad absurdum of this argument would be its use to justify independent schools into the bargain.

However, I was a trifle miffed when he disparagingly singles out a motion on bus routes for the annual conference as if it were the epitome of irrelevant nonsense. "From bureaucracy to bus routes" is the first of a series of alliterative and scornful bons mots.

The motion in question originated from Biggar High School in South Lanarkshire and seeks to ensure that local authorities grit and salt school bus routes adequately in the winter months. In February 1994, two pupils at this school were killed in a school bus accident and the fact that EIS members have tenaciously continued throughout the intervening period to campaign for the improvement of safety standards on school buses is to my mind more a matter for commendation than ridicule.

David Liddell Secretary South Lanarkshire local association, Educational Institute of Scotland

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