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READERS’ LETTERS: Every school needs own head teacher at its centre

Cressida Dick has resigned as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Cressida Dick has resigned as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Sir, – As a Fife head teacher for nearly 30 years – although now long retired – I can vouch it is both a rewarding post as well as a very responsible one.

Any school, even the smallest one, has to have a “core” member of staff who is almost always present on the premises in order to shoulder and deal with the amazing number of sudden and sometimes even weird mishaps that do occasionally occur.

I can remember having to deal with two children being injured when a workman literally fell through the ceiling on to them.

I can remember having to staunch serious blood loss in a child who had been badly gashed in the playground. I remember having to comfort a child who we thought might have lost an eye. I remember too when I had to stop two parents punching each other in a school corridor.

The head teacher is the prime mover in such incidents because he or she is there.

They know how the school functions, they know the calibre of the staff and the characteristics of most of the parents and families. They know what allowances to make or not to make when some decision has to be arrived at.

How on earth can a “floating” head teacher who has to run, say, three schools deal effectively with the many problems that suddenly crop up in a primary school when that person may well be spending his or her time that day in one of two other possible schools some miles away?

If common sense – and perhaps the teachers’ unions – cannot stop this remarkably retrograde step then I predict the number of “unfortunate incidents” which will take place as the months grow into years will rise dramatically and, in the end, head teachers will have to be re-established in every school.

Archibald A Lawrie. Church Wynd, Kingskettle.

Khan too should be shown London exit

Sir, – If the proverb a new broom sweeps clean holds true, then three new brooms should make a really clean job.

Although I agree with the “ousting” from office of Cressida Dick, I most certainly do not go along with London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s views – or intervention – as to who should replace her.

It seems to me that another two people should also be “ousted” from office – the incumbent mayor of London and the leader of the Labour Party, both of whom hold portfolios of negativity.

Kenneth Miln. Union Street, Monifieth.

Workplace charging is political suicide

Sir, – The SNP is giving councils the freedom to impose a workplace parking charge.

Thankfully, Scottish Conservative-controlled councils will not impose this tax, according to leader Douglas Ross.

Many people who live in rural areas need a vehicle to get to work. Local roads and nearby land will be used to park vehicles, thus avoiding employee car parks.

The tax will not be payable on land which is not in the ownership of the employer.

Ministerial cars parking at Holyrood should pay the tax and it should be disallowed in a claim for expenses, nor should it be charged to the taxpayer.

MSPs should also pay the tax if they park cars at Holyrood.

I see the imposition of this tax as the SNP and Greens committing political suicide.

Peter McCormack. Grange Road, Errol.

Scotland can afford state pensions

Sir, – Allan Sutherland (February 14) completely fails to understand how pensions are paid. Those earned while paying UK tax and NI receive their pensions wherever in the world they reside.

This has been the rule for many decades and is the reason why people retire to places like Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

This will continue.

Clearly, pension entitlement accrued in an independent Scotland will be paid from within our own tax regime, which will be structured differently to the current UK system.

There is no suggestion that future pensions have to be paid from UK, merely that existing pensions as a consequence of the contractual rules will continue as now.

This of course applies to state pensions but private pensions will also continue to be paid by the relevant company schemes under their rules.

It may be that in the course of post-independence negotiations responsibility for those residual state pensions may become the liability of the Scottish Government but what is wrong with that?

We amply earn more in tax than we receive back in grants now and proper analysis shows that we could afford it along with all the other responsibilities of an independent state, as do all the other similar-sized countries.

Nick Cole. Balmacron Farmhouse, Meigle.

Climategate emails reveal bogus claims

Sir, – Nick Cole parrots the bogus “consensus” among scientists that humans are changing the climate (Letters, February 11).

The Climategate emails, where so-called climate scientists from around the world wrongly believed that they were communicating privately, have some interesting takes on this.

Several studies were conducted purportedly to examine what percentage of scientists agreed with the man-made warming theory, one lead author being Naiomi Oreskes, whose work was quoted in Al Gore’s film.

In a Climategate email dated November 12 2009, Tom Wigley wrote: “Analyses like these by people who don’t know the field are useless.

“A good example is Naiomi Oreskes’ work.”

In other emails, in 1999 Keith Briffa wrote: “My concern was motivated by the possibility of expressing an impression of more consensus than might actually exist.”

And in 2009 John Christy wrote: “This gets to the issue that the consensus reports now are just the consensus of those who agree with the consensus.”

Geoff Moore. Alness, Highland.

Fracking shows Scotland at mercy of an unelected Tory dictatorship

Sir, – Boris Johnson’s former Europe Minister Lord Frost is campaigning with other Tories and energy companies to reverse the ban on hydraulic fracking.

Fracking pumps harmful poison into the water supply such as benzene and arsenic.

It has also caused earthquakes in drilled areas. It is hazardous to wildlife and has even been known to set people’s taps on fire.

Boris Johnson has already allowed water companies in England to pump raw sewage into the sea as a post-Brexit cost-saving measure.

It is entirely possible that Johnson, looking for a quick solution to the energy crisis, may have his head turned and end the UK-wide ban on fracking.

Of course, it would make no difference to the price or supply of gas for years.

The Scottish Government rightly banned the process in Scotland.

However, under the Tory internal market bill this ban could be reversed by the Tory “Proconsul”, Alister Jack with the stroke of a pen.

This demonstrates yet again that under the union, Scotland is a colony entirely beholden to an unelected Tory dictatorship.

Holyrood serves as a talking shop unable to carry out the democratic will of the people of Scotland.

A poisoned water supply is simply the latest vileness staying within the union will impose on Scotland.

This in addition to the permanent Brexit supply chain crisis, an increasing pension age of 70 and upwards, the end of the NHS and eviscerated wages.

This is not speculative, this is what is happening now.

Alan Hinnrich. Gillespie Terrace, Dundee.

Quite a U-turn by SNP over tolls

Sir, – Looking back to news reports in 2008 when the SNP scrapped tolls on the Forth and Tay bridges, I was interested to note the first person to cross the Forth Road Bridge was a supermarket worker and the last person to pay on the Tay Bridge was a student.

The SNP are furious at Westminster (yes, I know that’s nothing new) about the NI rate increasing “at a time of increasing costs”

And yet it is the SNP who are considering adding to the burden of costs by introducing road tolls and workplace tax levies.

It is not the bankers, the office managers and the politicians who would be hit by these costs. It would be the supermarket worker who finishes at 11pm, the factory worker who has to get to work for 6am or the baker who starts at 2am and there is no alternative means of transport.

It would be almost everyone in the north of Scotland who does not live within walking distance of their work and does not work 9 to 5 shifts.

Stewart Stevenson, the- then transport minister said on the day he signed the order to scrap the two tolls: “I am delighted that, in just a few days’ time, travellers across the bridges will no longer have to pay tolls. There will be equality on all bridges in Scotland.”

The SNP are clearly looking to inflict injustice on us again, when many of us who have no option but to use our own transport will be penalised for doing so. That’s some U-turn from the SNP, is it not?

Jane Lax. Craigellachie, Aberlour.

Island life now almost impossible

Sir, – Scottish ferry repair costs are now out of control and together with additional ferry hire costs have escalated the cost of Scottish ferries.

In 2019, ferry cancellations were running at a rate of one in 29 scheduled sailings but the figure in 2021 was an abysmal 1 in 16.

Life in the Scottish islands is becoming almost impossible with a wholly unreliable ferry service that the SNP administration has mismanaged and bungled to the point of complete breakdown.

Scotland Deserves Better. Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn.

St Regulus plan a smash and grab

Sir, – I am responding to Alasdair Clark’s February 7 article concerning the proposal to demolish St Regulus Cottage on the cliffs here on the Scores in St Andrews to build two modernist town houses with underground swimming pool and garages.

Firstly, there were 16 planning objections not five.

We had to fight Fife planning department to include a letter signed by eight residents here at the 13 sheltered council flats next door whose lives are going to be ruined by this development.

Secondly, you referred to me as a property owner but in fact I am one of the 13 Fife Council sheltered tenants.

The distinction is important as Fife Council is our landlord with a duty of care towards its sheltered tenants, while at the same time it is the planning authority “advising” the new owners and who failed to put out printed planning notices in the vicinity and on the Fife Coastal Path where I can assure you they would have been well viewed.

We view this scheme as a smash and grab raid on our community and it should be stopped.

Chris Main. Kirkhill, St Andrews.

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