THE headline showing issues with Scottish history learning highlights some old and new issues (This is why half of young Scots don’t know about Scottish history,, May 13). Whilst the survey scope is shallow, it is also revealing.

In 2012 I first raised issues of the poor coverage of Scottish history. For a start, the first chronological qualification course option starts in 1286. There is a real danger that pupils will believe Scottish history began with Alexander III’s death in a riding accident and the subsequent conflict with southern neighbours. Pupils must be exposed to Scottish history long before 1286. Where can students learn that Scotland originally was a nation of many different peoples?

What follows in history qualifications is a “tartan shortbread tin” whirlwind tour though Scottish history (including Robert the Bruce), just missing Brigadoon along the way.

In more modern history, the removal of studies on the rise of the SNP and previous referendums from the British units denies pupils relevant studies.

A current issue has ironically been created by the Scottish Government. The new senior phase has been shown to limit course choices. History, like other subjects, struggles for numbers when students have limited choices and busy “columns” to pick subjects from.

We once valued a proud broad general education. Ironically, in education, it seems, we are not learning the lessons of history.

Neil McLennan
Former President of the Scottish Association of Teachers of History King’ College, University of Aberdeen

I WAS most interested in your feature on why half of young Scots don’t know about Scottish history. In my experience this is anything but new.

I learned my history from Dr Iain MacPhail at Clydebank High School during the second half of the 1960s. He was so determined that his pupils would know the history of their own country that, when he could not find a satisfactory textbook to use, he wrote his own – the two-volume A History of Scotland by IMM MacPhail.

During my own teaching career in higher education, it often surprised me when, in conversation with colleagues about some event in Scottish history, they would say to me “how do you know that?” One even ventured the opinion “I used to think Scotland wasn’t invented till 1603”.

That “one in six Scots aged 16-24 said they didn’t learn any Scottish history at school” is a serious criticism of Scottish education. Of course, for some, teaching the history of Scotland, our own country, is highly parochial and isolating. But if our children don’t know about Scotland’s past, how can they know how best to take it into the future?

Alasdair Galloway

IN second year of secondary schooling in late 1950s Stirlingshire I can boast of having achieved a mark of 92% in the third-term history exam, achieved by an ability to write essays and a wee bit of boning up on dates.

At the start of the following year I opted to drop the subject – which had left me highly knowledgeable about Roman invasions, Greco-Persian wars, the Russian revolution and the industrial revolution (which seemed to have occurred almost entirely furth of Scotland) – and concentrated on geography.

The head of department, perhaps mindful of Higher exam statistics, sent for me and asked why I had made this choice. I told him that, during the summer holidays, I had discovered the history department in the local library and had decided that I was no longer prepared to have his colleagues lie to me by omission. He blushed and made no reply.

It seems from your letters page that little has changed in 50 years.

Les Hunter

REGARDING your story “Viewers turn off BBC Scotland’s News Show” (May 13). There is nothing intrinsically wrong with BBC Scotland’s news programme The Nine, which is professional and well presented. It’s just that The Nine should be The Six and on BBC1!

David McCan

TIME to devolve broadcasting to Scotland. Time for Scotland and not for England to control the message of what Scotland watches and listens to. Time for Scotland to have a broadcaster that reports from Scotland, by Scotland and for Scotland.

Time for Scotland to have a broadcaster that invests 100% of the TV tax raised in Scotland into Scotland and that is not used as an excuse to drive money and resources from Scotland into England.

In 2014 we were promised Devo Max and to become the most devolved nation in the world. Time to deliver. Time to devolve broadcasting to Scotland.

Maria Carnero