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'Lack of shoes can be a problem'

The Pack Committee on truancy and indiscipline launched a series of subcommittees on key aspects of Scottish education in early 1975.

Among the thoughts of the committee on transition between primary and secondary were calls for more parental involvement and better liaison between primary and secondary.

Fewer teachers facing pupils in early secondary, more specialists in upper primary, and more contact with social workers, were also urged.

A note of one meeting in Dundee on March 13 1975 says: "The inadequacy or lack of shoes can also be a problem for the primary, although the extent to which it contributed to truancy in primary was difficult to assess."

The committee also said: "Some children were coming to secondary ill-equipped to cope with a curriculum geared to an examination remit."

Another subcommittee estimated an average absenteeism rate of 10.2 per cent across schools but the Scottish Schoolmasters' Association said up to half of 15 to 16-year- olds in comprehensive schools were regularly absent.

Yet another subcommittee criticised the subject domination of secondaries but believed that "mixed-ability grouping is impracticable under present school conditions".

As ever, colleges of education were condemned for not preparing students for the realities of the classroom.

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