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Conference

David Henderson and Neil Munro report from the SSTA's congress at Aviemore

* A meeting will be sought with the Secretary of State to discuss reductions in class size, school repairs and disruptive pupils.

* Highland was singled out as among the councils that have used changes in the pension rules in "an unequal and discriminatory manner" to force teachers to retire as a way of making staffing cuts.

* "Uninformed and malicious criticism" of teaching standards was roundly condemned as John Gray, Aberdeen, singled out "Paisley boys made good", a reference to comments by Andrew Neil, editor-in-chief of the Scotsman.

* "The fear of overreacting has been used as an excuse to do nothing," Margaret Smith, Fife, said. The congress endorsed her call for swifter action on school security.

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