Ministers' role

Much though I appreciated Malcolm Mackenzie's interesting discussion (TESS, February 21) on the role of the Advisory Council on Scottish Education, there is one important point in the Government's proposals to revive it which he omits to mention.

This new council is to be chaired by the minister; the old ones were chaired by distinguished independent educationists.

When the Secretary of State, Tom Johnston, set up the council that produced the famous 1947 report on secondary education, he provided guidance and a suggested agenda. But he certainly did not expect to play a role in its work.

It is an index of the ways in which educational advice has been politicised in inappropriate ways over the last three decades that the crucial change in the proposed new council seems barely to have been noticed.

(Professor) LINDSAY PATERSON Moray House Institute of Education Edinburgh

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