I HAVE the highest respect for Nicola Sturgeon’s “most ambitious agenda” to improve education so that the perennial attainment gap closes once and for all. Who, in their right mind, would want to question that laudable “defining mission”?

What concerns me is the plan to “transform the life chances of our children” by the use of schools alone. No mention is made of the crucial role that youth clubs have in providing young people with a space between home and school that can do more for their well-being than any amount of institutionalised confinement. The stresses and strains of our high-pressured lives these days needs to be properly alleviated by relaxation with friends away from overbearing adults intent upon imposing ever more complex targets.

I would urge John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, to insist on all headteachers reaching out to youth workers in their communities with a resolve to giving meaningful support to the positive and uplifting impact that clubs, especially members of Youth Scotland, provide.

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David Ashford, trustee & volunteer, Lochalsh Youth Community Trust Isle of Skye