Editor's comment

Confidence is the new banner under which educational activities are increasingly marshalling - and we can say that with, er, confidence. A number of initiatives, some of which we report this week, are coming together in a way which has a remarkable synergy about them. The Centre for Confidence and Well-being has taken on the task of putting Scottish culture into reverse in the hope of accentuating the positive. It is working with, among others, the Schools of Ambition programme and Napier University's "confident futures" strategy, themselves threads in the same weave.

The importance of nurturing confident individuals is already mapped out in A Curriculum for Excellence. The Determined to Succeed initiative (p1 and 4) is a natural and highly successful vehicle for doing just that: it is unusual for any policy to win ringing endorsements from 88 per cent of heads and more than 90 per cent of teachers. The Columba 1400 programmes are making their contribution, from lifting highly vulnerable youngsters out of their dependencies (p8) to running leadership courses whose value many teachers praise.

The relentless pursuit of developing confident and positive individuals is not a recipe for inevitable success. This requires the presence of optimism and opportunity. Ray Perman of the Smith Group was right to say this week that the ancient verity of "create opportunities and all will be well" is no longer good enough if individuals do not have the confidence to take advantage of them. The reverse is also true: confidence is not good enough without opportunities.

Nonetheless, the evidence shows that the groundwork is being laid. It is encouraging to see separate projects reinforcing others - and heading in the same direction. With all this innovation, we hope there is one thing they are not reinventing - the wheel.

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