Your views

20th February 2015 at 00:00

National 4 is only a starting point

I'm not sure what troubled me most about the TESS column "For what it's worth" (13 February). For a start, there was its inability - or unwillingness - to recognise National 4 English as a step towards something more challenging, especially for candidates who previously might not have been given the opportunity to study at such a level. And then there was the assumption that, because National 4 requirements seem so "devalued", teachers are preparing pupils to gain qualifications they don't deserve.

I have high expectations of all my pupils. I challenge them to reach beyond expected levels, even at National 4. I don't teach to the test and have never emphasised the "need to memorise quotations". When are we going to give teachers and pupils credit for working hard, learning more and reaching levels they previously may have found out of their reach?

Yes, perhaps the requirements of National 4 are not overly imposing, but to suggest that teachers allow their pupils to rest on their laurels is ludicrous. What the exam board expects is of only passing importance. Get there and move on; teachers in my department challenge everyone to reach further. The Scottish Qualifications Authority may expect "little evidence of ability" but we expect much, much more.

And isn't that the way to raise attainment for all? Regardless of whether you feel it is merited, let's stop criticising the SQA and get back to teaching and stretching the young people in our care.

Kenny Pieper

English teacher, East Kilbride

Short and tweet

Did one of those local press photos yesterday in which kids stand behind me and pretend to be enthralled by the book I'm not reading to them.


Loved The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds on @4OD. Demonstrated how complex and important relationships are and how intelligent wee people are.


Have managed the whole day with a pink beard! #fundraising


Swedish law requires your workplace to have a nap room.


Busy day ahead but must find time to pop into Towards the Nurturing City conference looking at resilience.


#Language isn't a genetic gift, it's a social gift.


Just met Mrs Miller at the #SWOTY15 [Scotswoman of the Year] awards. 104 years old and still volunteering! People definitely make Glasgow.


Thirty years ago today, The Breakfast Club was released.


Letters for publication in TESS should arrive by 10am Monday. Send your letters, ideally of no more than 250 words in length, including contact address and phone number, by email to or by post to TES Scotland, Thistle House, 21-23 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DF. Letters may be edited

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now