English and maths were hit hardest. One contributor to the 1970 symposium on the shortage of maths teachers by the Royal Society of Edinburgh concluded: "The increasing difficulty in maintaining discipline and the move towards comprehensive education were cited as deterrents."
Colleges of education were accused of not making their curriculum interesting enough for maths students.
The ending of grant-aided schools could have thrown up a benefit for the impending Scottish Assembly, according to the papers.
In Edinburgh, talks were taking place between what are now the schools in the independent sector. Officials in the SED saw an opportunity.
"One or more of the prestige grant-aided school buildings in Edinburgh might come on the market within the next year or two. The buildings I have heard mentioned are those of Heriot's and Stewart's-Melville," one said.
Officials did not like the building at what is currently Donaldson's School for the Deaf as a possible Assembly site. It was too difficult to maintain.