While I endorse the teaching of the whole story of British history in schools, may I also suggest that Scottish pupils have the opportunity to know the whole story of their own country.

I am 67 and a retired teacher of history. I was fortunate to attend Laurel Bank School, in the West End [of Glasgow], now sadly gone. That’s another story for another time.

I was fortunate to have a history department that was happy to have us study for the Scottish paper of both O Level and Higher exams.

We had a teacher who was a Scottish history nut, Helen Stevens. Mrs Hunter covered the rest, I sat both of those diets and then proceeded to Edinburgh University, where I studied Scottish history further under the light of Gordon Donaldson. I also did American, African, European and economic history.

I am highlighting this, as I was unusual in those days as a pupil who had had the opportunity to study Scottish history. It was as though it had been cut from the curriculum as an unnecessary item.

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The rest was all about the wars, or the French or Russian Revolution. I remember years later driving through Glencoe when my son asked about the massacre, and by the time we got to Fort William he said “remind me never to ask again”.

You can’t answer questions in a vacuum. You have to understand what went before. One of my last jobs before retirement was in a Stirling high school. The person who had concocted the syllabus had no history background and the topics jumped from here to there, century to century and made no sense whatsoever. The kids were confused – hell, I was confused.

Can we please move to a situation where we can understand certain truths about our own country, why certain things are as they are?

Many years ago I wanted to cover an excellent unit written by Mary Edward called, I think, “Sugar, soap and the slave trade”, and was told I couldn’t as it might upset some people.

Reform is needed now.

Wendy Wilson

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