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Leaders need 'esprit de corps'

I read with concern two recent reports which show the falling standards of our once proud education system. One saw Scotland drop below Greece in terms of take-up levels beyond 16 (TESS, January 2). The other showed that Scotland sat with Third World countries for performance in science and maths (TESS, December 12).

I also read with interest articles challenging the police service to alter its leadership selection and training to meet new demands in the 21st century.

Like the police service, teaching is currently undergoing major changes and facing new demands. Not least, we are implementing major changes under A Curriculum for Excellence, but the profession is also working tirelessly to stem the drop in standards that these two articles demonstrate.

Attainment is top of everyone's agenda. If we are to put Scotland's education system back in its rightful place, it will need not just to be well-managed but well-led. The challenges currently facing teaching need inspirational leadership and an element of esprit de corps.

Perhaps the Education Secretary might like to consider a wholescale review of leadership selection, training and support. Could the Scottish Qualification for Headship be developed into a wider leadership programme for deputes, project leaders and faculty managers? Should there be a national leadership training programme which is more accessible and more uniform across the country?

We need solutions which, radical though they may be, are no more drastic than Scotland's educational standards being placed alongside Third World nations.

Neil McLennan, Edinburgh.

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