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Renfrewshire schools are not 'unfit to learn in'

I must take issue with you on the article "Councils fail to stop the rot" (TESS, September 12). It included references to HMI reports on two schools in Renfrewshire, Castlehead High and Houston primary, under a headline which referred to schools being "declared unfit to learn in".

This reporting is a misrepresentation of the HMI reports on these schools. At no time did the HMI reports suggest that they were "declared unfit to learn in". The reports did identify items to address within both schools, but it is a complete exaggeration to suggest that these items are serious enough to make the schools unfit for learning.

In the case of Houston primary, the issue of safety in the playground is being addressed, in consultation with the school, as part of the school security arrangements, for which funding only became available in April 1997 (follow-up inspection took place in March). The report did identify a number of property issues at Castlehead High, many of which have already been addressed by the council within the context of the resources presently available to us.

The two schools mentioned are actually amongst our better school buildings. To describe them as "unfit to learn" is completely inappropriate and devalues the many positive things which the HMI reports recognised were being achieved in these schools. I can assure you that the staff of the schools do not recognise their establishments from the description in your article. They feel let down that such careless reporting can undermine the school, as well as not recognising their many achievements.

BRIAN OLDREY

Convener of education services Renfrewshire Council

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