Madam, – Steve Kerr (Independent schools are not charities, Courier, March 29) is sincere I’m sure, but he is entirely wrong in his take on the High School of Dundee.
He has fallen victim to the myths and prejudices that are thrown at independent schools.
In actual fact, when Braeview suffered the terrible fire we immediately contacted Dundee City Council to offer help and support, in terms of facilities, accommodation and departmental input.
The city decided it did not need to take us up on that offer, but we were keen to help if needed, and remain so.
Financially the High School alone saves the state something in the region of at least £7 million per year in educating young people outwith the state system.
On top of that, this £7m is paid for by parents who are also additionally paying their taxes into state schools.
We work hard to ensure access to our school is as wide as possible. We provide £1m per year in financial support for those pupils who otherwise couldn’t afford the fees, including some at 100%.
Is that not worth recognising?
The High School is also a major employer, with over 200 staff, and beyond that we provide business to many local suppliers and contractors. And I haven’t even gone into the use of our facilities by many community groups and clubs.
The High School is totally proud of its position at the heart of this amazing city and we feel we are part of the solution to Scotland’s educational problems.
We look forward to working with those like-minded people who want a joined up and integrated approach to taking the education of the city’s young people forwards.
If the attainment gap is widening then it is not the fault of the independent schools. The state educates 95.5% of every cohort.
This constant bad-mouthing of the High School does nobody any favours, and this punitive government policy to single out independent schools from the many, many thousands of Scottish charities is a cheap political gesture which I believe is indeed vindictive and self-defeating.
Dr John D Halliday,
High School of Dundee.
Ease pressure on parliament
Madam, – Now her deal has been defeated again surely the prime minister has to finally accept it has died and consign it to the coffin of history.
It must now be time for this obstinate woman to drop some of her “red lines” and accept that the only way forward is to revoke Article 50 temporarily.
This would take off the time pressure and allow the people, or parliament to take a step back and work out what sort of future relationship we want to have with the EU.
In this relationship, we should be leaning towards asking the younger people of this country for their views, as most of the MPs are of an older generation who have had all the opportunities of being European citizens, but want to deny this to today’s youth.
Many of the more outspoken members of the public in favour of leaving also seem to be of the older generation.
They should be thinking of their sons, daughters and grandchildren who will have to live with the legacy of their decisions .
Brexit operatics are not comical
Madam, – Like most of the country I have been watching, with disbelief, the day by day unfolding of the Brexit farce at Westminster.
I can only think that, had Gilbert and Sullivan still been around, they could have had a field day with the recent antics of our politicians.
Brexit might have been a comic opera to beat all other comic operas, had the consequences not been so serious for our nation.
37 Gallowden Road,
Madam, – 630 MPs have just voted on nine different possibilities for a Brexit deal and singularly failed to agree on any. What a surprise!
The Brexit referendum was ill-conceived and we were ill-prepared to deal with the result.
This referendum was foisted on us because of a troublesome section of the Conservative Party pestered a string of leaders for decades.
David Cameron finally gave in to the pressure.
A referendum effecting major change to the constitution should never have been predicated on a simple majority.
The first past the post system may be satisfactory in selecting a party to govern us as we always have the ability to rid ourselves of that government after four or five years if they do not come up to scratch.
In the Brexit referendum there may have been a 52% majority. On a turnout of 72% this amounts to only 36% of the electorate.
It is quite erroneous to refer to this as “the will of the people” – 17 million may have voted to leave but 29m did not.
Changes to the constitution require a much more rigorous approach and any such referendum should require a ‘yes’ vote by at least half of the electorate to truly reflect the will of the people.
It is worth noting that with a 72% turnout, the ‘yes’ vote would have to be 70%. Those wishing to make the change to the constitution would then realise the size of the task and would ditch the populism in favour of a rational consideration of all the ramifications for the country.
27 Main Street.
Wrong target for criticism
Madam, – Keith Howell accuses our SNP representatives in Westminster of trying to disrupt brexit and undermine the UK Government, (No indication of way forward, Courier, March 27) as if the government and the official opposition were not demonstrably more than capable of doing this without any outside assistance.
He then goes on to state ‘the SNP has tied the cause of EU membership and Scottish independence’.
In actual fact the SNP resist Brexit because it is their job to represent the people of Scotland, who decisively rejected Brexit by the margin of 2:1.
An independent Scotland would certainly wish to retain close links with Europe but it would decide on the form: perhaps full EU membership, the Norway model or some other variant depending on the circumstances when that time came.
I find it somewhat disingenuous that Mr Howell, and his Scotland in Union colleagues, expect the people of Scotland to heed their constant criticism of our representatives in Westminster, whilst offering no comment on the absolutely disgraceful, dishonest, deceitful behaviour of the two main unionist parties which, with some notable individual exceptions, have put their party interests before the future of the country.
5 Carmichael Gardens,
Better use for Malawi IT cash
Madam, – While Scottish foodbanks are stretched to capacity because of the impoverished state of many of our local families, our Parliament in Holyrood is gifting £450,000 to girls in Malawi so that they can understand computing. (Cash to help Malawi girls learn IT, Courier, March 30)
Not only is this financially ridiculous, it is also blatantly sexist!
Archibald A. Lawrie,
5 Church Wynd,