Young thinkers advise First Minister

IF Francesca Edge, a senior pupil at St Patrick's primary in Troon, was First Minister one of the country's most intractable educational problems could be solved.

"If education was better and children had better facilities like a desk of their own and a computer each, children would look forward to schools and not bunk off. We are looking for fun and challenging work not boring work," she advises.

Many of the more than 800 contributors to a Children in Scotland competition for primary-age pupils offer concrete proposals to help children and families. Everything from class sizes to holes in school roofs and road safety comes under the remit.

Kayleigh Campbell, of Craigston school, arra, writes: "The roads in Barra are not very safe to drive on because they have too many holes in them and they are not wide enough. I would like to ride to school when the weather is nice on my bicycle but I can't because there are no pavements."

Environmental issues remain a key interest. "Help animals in the ocean by not throwing litter in the ocean," recommends Munpreet Singh of St Mary's primary, Edinburgh, while Christina Sasaki, also of St Mary's, suggests: "Make the city glitter."

"Dear Minister Dewar," writes Mercy McFarlane, aged four, of Achiltibue playgroup, "I think children shood eet good food and ride a trisicle." On yer bike, Donald, as you regain fitness.

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