Resources for schools are notoriously tight. The new councils which are responsible for almost 3,000 Scottish schools have had to begin life by imposing spending restrictions - indeed, cuts - on headteachers. But books must be renewed, materials updated. Curriculum changes bring demands for resources.
The workload about which teachers rightly complain is made worse if there are not adequate teaching materials, while their availability in professional but affordable form eases the burden.
Next week's Education Scotland '96 show at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre allows teachers, administrators and parents to see the range of wares on offer. About 120 companies are exhibiting equipment, textbooks, furniture, hardware and software as well as services. The organisers, the British Educational Suppliers Association, report an enthusiastic response by schools for tickets.
To coincide with the exhibition, which The TES Scotland is sponsoring, this supplement focuses on resources issues affecting teachers. Above all, as Eleanor Caldwell emphasises (page four), the Scottish education system needs materials geared to its requirements.
For many manufacturers and publishers that should pose no problem: the same laboratory equipment, for example, can be installed in a Scottish school as in an English one. But with different curricula and examinations, attention to Scotland's historical and linguistic traditions is a prerequisite for appealing to the Scottish market.
As Iseabail Macleod reports on page 11, the Scots School Dictionary is being published using the resources of the Scottish National Dictionary Association. The National Museum of Scotland is bringing interactive multimedia technology to present Scottish history. So the building blocks for a Scottish emphasis in the new primary and secondary curriculum are being put in place. Let us hope that teachers use them, and that other resources are also made available.
With new councils, devolved school management and contracting-out of services such as meals (see page three), the daily life of schools is set for continual change. Teachers, however, apply one litmus test: what will be the effect on the process of teaching and learning? Resources, too, will be judged on that criterion - and on how far the budget can be stretched.