Minds of mash and mush;Letter

26th June 1998 at 01:00
I absolutely agree with John Lloyd (Letters, June 12) about improving achievement through curricular flexibility. My O-grades (1972) included four foreign languages, which I enjoyed. I omitted aesthetic and creative subjects altogether, thereby sparing those teachers the curse of a tone-deaf, hamfisted and reluctant pupil.

Encountering the situation again this year as the parent of an S2 boy, I wondered how he would fare with similar attributes. At Sanquhar Academy the rector personally discusses with all parents their children's options, and favours maximising strengths and minimising weaknesses as the selection principle. This results in fewer disgruntled pupils, better motivation and more parental support.

If a small rural secondary (under 400), with less room for curricular manoeuvring can achieve this, so can every school.

Further and higher education institutions and employers will surely prefer confident students with good results across a (perhaps) restricted range to "curriculum correct" mediocrities. Strait jacketing students into an inflexible, Munn-and-Dunning-derived curriculum is as inappropriate today as serving up mince, mash and mushy peas for school dinners.

Ms HM Wilson Motherwell College

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