Don't blame the boycott

23rd October 1998 at 01:00
You report (TESS, October 9) Helen Liddell's concern that pupils, especially those not aiming for Higher courses, could be the victims of any boycott by teachers of Higher Still. I am afraid Mrs Liddell's concern is of the crocodile tears variety, because it is action by this Government that will delay the implementation of the Higher Still programme for pupils "not aiming for Higher courses", not any teachers' boycott.

We have recently had a letter from David Stewart, the head of qualifications and skills strategy division, confirming that a decision has been taken to implement the Higher level courses in August next year, the Advanced Higher in 2000 "and the other levels according to local needs and priorities over a 3-5 year period".

This means that youngsters currently in primary 7 could well be the first cohort to take the Intermediate courses. So Mrs Liddell's concern is a little misdirected.

If she is really worried that a delay in implementing Higher Still could adversely affect youngsters "not aiming for Higher courses" - the group whose needs prompted this entire review in the first place - then she should direct her remarks, not to the teachers and their boycott, but rather to her own officials who thought it was appropriate to delay introducing the courses for this group for up to another five years.

Judith Gillespie

Development manager

Scottish Parent Teacher Council

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