Talking points

12th November 2004 at 00:00
Neil Munro reports from this year's conference, organised by Edinburgh City Council and The TES Scotland

* "It's excruciating listening to teachers talk about sex. I can't imagine how embarrassing it is to teach but we have to keep going because, in this case, people can die: of embarrassment." - Emily Hutchison, aged 15, Edinburgh

* "In 2018, we will have half the primary population we had in 1918." - Mike Ewart, head of the Scottish Executive Education Department

* "One of the things about Scotland is our negativity. We are worn down by sayings like, 'what's for you won't go by you'. Believe me, it will; it will shoot off to someone else unless you shift." - Kathleen Long, consultant in health and motivation

* "Nothing is more frustrating than seeing talented youngsters who are getting no support at home." - Rory Mackenzie, headteacher of Balerno High

* "We have got to liberate people to take risks and work creatively, especially for teachers supporting the most deprived children." - Bishop Richard Holloway

* "In my 2020, school timetables will take account of pupils observing religious events and festivals. This year, for me, prelim times fall the day after the month of Ramadan ends, which I am currently observing. This makes life difficult for Muslim pupils who have to revise, many of whom will feel exhausted from fasting." - Saqib Afzal, aged 14, Edinburgh pupil

* Self-esteem in England is lowered by a lack of sense of belonging which is high in Scotland. In Scotland, the problem is a lack of a sense of personal power. - Elizabeth Morris, psychotherapist and counsellor

* "Don't let's lose sight of what we have: a good comprehensive school system which has faults, but is working. If we lose that, we will expose our young people to some very chill winds." - Fiona McDonald, education convener of Aberdeen City Council

* A recent study tracking youngsters over time to find out what makes the difference between those who are successful and those who are not discovered the key factor was self-esteem at the age of 10. - Peter Peacock, Education Minister

* "The future is about lifting up communities as well as lifting up individuals, not just about the future of physics." - Roy Jobson, director of children and families, Edinburgh Council

* "We need to be more proactive in reaching and attracting people. We need to make it clear that returning to education is not about failing and that adult returners are not failures." - Tamsin Andrews, aged 25, adult returner

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