Labour's guilty past;Letter

29th January 1999 at 00:00
THE SHOCKING report on standards of achievement in Scotland's schools was entirely predictable. Labour attempts to blame the Tories are nonsense as it is Labour councils which have in reality run our schools for decades, and any serious attempts by Tory governments to change the system were repeatedly met by all-out opposition from Labour and the Educational Institute of Scotland.

For too long we have listened to "trendy" experts who advocated informality and "free expression" in the classroom. Many of these "experts" themselves quit the classroom at the first opportunity. Indiscipline is rife in the state sector, unlike the private domain where there are sanctions which work, and matters will not improve until meaningful action is taken.

Children need to be taught in classes where there is a similar ability spread. Mixed-ability throws an impossible burden on teachers who inevitably neglect - through no fault of their own - either the top, middle or bottom group, as they cannot deal with all at once.

In the 1960s, the "high-fliers" were able to progress at their own rate, with undivided attention, just as the poorest academically were nurtured by a caring teacher who coaxed progress from them, albeit slow. The latter left school with the necessary basic reading, writing and counting skills, which is often not the case now.

But of course the "cooncillors" were offended and the system fell by the wayside. We need a change of direction if standards are not to decline further.

Gordon Lind Irvine Crescent Coatbridge

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today