Casual thinking

LOUISE HAYWARD and Jean Kane (TESS, Platform June 16) missed the point that the keys to the "old remedial cupboard" do not lie in the hands of learning support teachers but in those of the educational establishment.

First, education authorities do not know (or presumably care) what proportion of pupils leave school after 11 years in their care unable to read, write or do simple arithmetic. If a hefty proportion of education directors' substantial salaries depended on some decent performance in this area it would concentrate minds wonderfully and transform resoucing decisions.

Second, one cannot train or gain registration as a learning support teacher: the General Teaching Council requires secondary teachers to complete their probation as "proper" subject teachers before they can cease being a "proper" teacher and dedicate their lives to learning support instead. The implicit message from Scotland's educational suits is clear: the lumpen-proletariat is safe with us - Scotland won't run short of hewers of wood and carriers of water for the foreseeable future.

Terry Hyde

Strathalmond Road, Edinburgh

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