Letters: It’s high time we abolished national exams

This body, thankfully on its deathbed, appears to be continuing the campaign against neurodiversity by giving the same test to all Scottish sixth form students from Stornoway to Stranraer. Young people develop at different rates with different influences, and I think it is unfair to have established an exam diet and schedule that is deemed so valuable that its inflexibility is its main characteristic.

The fact that the annual ranking of Scottish school examination results does not change much has to be seen as a consequence of the very structure of school provision, which does not enable all the learning needs of pupils at each level to be met. The long Covid effect on school activities is exacerbating an apparently systemic problem that requires a radical solution.

I hope that the SQA will take the issue seriously and throw in the towel before Professor Hayward’s independent review of the assessment is complete, although the preliminary recommendations are encouraging.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

End nurses’ 12-hour shifts

The campaign for a four-day week for carers (‘Shorter working week NHS advocates’, The Herald, 31 March) is believed to address the unfair treatment of carers in relation to their working conditions and the resulting stress. What is conveniently not reported when this issue arises is that the Royal College of Nursing voted for 12-hour shifts.

This was not forced on them by their NHS employers. Anecdotal evidence shows that nurses prefer this arrangement because they can take well-paying agency jobs on their days off.

Twelve-hour shifts must be very stressful and not good for the patients when they are cared for by tired nurses. Instead of admitting this, however, the nursing profession seems to want to continue to present itself as a victim in public. Now that better pay has been negotiated for nurses, isn’t it the time to return to a less stressful seven-hour shift pattern?

Elizabeth Mueller, Glasgow.

There is no relief in sight on ferries

ANOTHER new transport minister and yet another ministerial statement on worsening and easily predictable ferry problems means we have a new face but the same old statements as island life and economies are declining at an incredible rate (“Pours to pay out for companies amid ferry debacle” , The Herald, March 31).

Added to this was the same old stuff at the First Secretary’s questions from the new FM, obsessed with independence and pointing fingers at Westminster. Ferries have nothing to do with Westminster – totally decentralized and since 2007 (now 16 years) ferries and their management and procurement have been the responsibility of the party, which says of Transport Scotland it could do better on its own – but in that respect it was completely autonomous on her own, but she has proven demonstrably that she cannot.

CMAL and Calmac’s own statistics – they’re not hard to find – show that since 2007 under the current government, there has been less than half the ship tonnage, less than half the ships, less than half the car and passenger carrying capacity, in Operated under different administrations than the 16 years before. The blame for this Bourach lies with one place, and if we think the ferry position is bad today, it’s only going to get worse as the fleet ages well past its sell-by date.

No lessons have been learned as the root cause of this mess is political maladministration, neglect and utter incompetence on the part of ministers and their officials which, despite many warnings, has led quite predictably to where we are now. Unfortunately, this will continue as there is no evidence to the contrary.

neil arthur, Kilpatrick, Isle of Arran.

Read more: The tragedy of the lottery ferry service is the damage being done to businesses

Discrepancy in the streets is unfortunate

IN the west of Scotland we have seen the terrible deterioration of our roads, bridges, pavements and of course the dirty litter that litters most of our roadsides over the last 10 years. I have raised the issue on many occasions both locally and regionally.

Last week my family and I were fortunate enough to spend a five day holiday in Kenmore and Aberfeldy. The contrast of the above is pretty amazing. The roads, sidewalks and bridges were all in very good condition, with little or no litter to be seen.

It was the same during our stay in Crieff last year. Perhaps all of our councilors in western Scotland should sit down a little with their Perthshire counterparts and listen to how a budget is run.

I have often blamed 11 years of SNP rule, and indeed most of these councils are under SNP control. My position remains the same in that the government is responsible for ensuring consistency across the country. It’s time to act before the deterioration becomes irreversible.

John Gilligan, Ayr.

We need to restore our landscape

I REGULARLY read and enjoy Thelma Edward’s letters and today’s post (April 1st) was very moving. I’m so sad that she can’t go out to experience the nature she describes so beautifully to us. And of course I agree that the burning of moorland, so necessary to the riflemen, has destroyed so much of Scotland’s flora and fauna over the centuries.

It’s time to reorient our use of the landscape, away from the barren moorlands necessary for gunfights for the very few, to a natural world that would quickly become the enjoyment of many.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

Bad humor

ANENT the first Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award (‘Shortlisted for Sir Billy Connelly to select comedian ‘Spirit of Glasgow’, The Herald, 1 April)), given his legacy it is likely to be the first recipient will be the candidate has, according to his assessment, pronounced the F-word most often in his action. Scottish comedy? Love oh love oh love.

D Macintyre, Greenock.

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