It was encouraging to read in last week's issue that examination entries in English for Students of Other Languages (ESOL) continue to rise, and to learn of the suggested reasons. But my crystal ball predicts a more significant increase next year, for a reason not mentioned: the availability of a newly-published (and SQA-endorsed) textbook, ESOL for Scottish Qualifications.
Our experience in over 25 years of publishing educational materials for Scotland would suggest a willingness to produce attractive and motivational textbooks for small numbers will result in an increase, though it may take time for us to recover the large investments we make producing them.
I worry for the future of similar investments made by suppliers of educational resources in Scotland, as grass-roots funding to schools continues to plumb new depths. Statistics may (or may not) suggest the highest-ever level of spending on Scottish education, but such funding is not able to be accessed by those schools and teachers in contact with us, and whose budgets appear to be bouncing along at an average of 25 per cent of last year's (already reduced) levels.
It is the worst classroom funding situation since I left teaching in the mid-1980s.
John Mitchell, treasurer, SAPER (Scottish Association of Providers of Educational Resources).