THE recent comment from the government’s new Commissioner for Fair Access, that middle-class children are not entitled to a university education, beggars belief.

Prof Peter Scott appears to think that social background, rather than qualifications and hard work, is the most important criterion for university entrance. Discriminating against the middle-class is no solution to our depressing educational record for disadvantaged pupils.

There is no question that social and familial context is hindering the progress of many less advantaged pupils. If these factors have prevented such pupils from achieving school level qualifications, in what world are they suddenly capable of degree level study? Indeed, the facts clearly show that many of them are not. The University of the West of Scotland admits the highest percentage of students from deprived circumstances in Scotland. It also has the second highest drop out rate in the United Kingdom. The human cost in recruiting students who cannot cope with the demands of a university course is huge.

Perhaps Prof Scott thinks that universities should alter their courses and examinations to “assist” such students to succeed? Perhaps the bridges built by engineers who have received this assistance could be clearly labelled to allow the public the option of taking the long way round?

The educational problems associated with deprivation are evident from the age of two. These problems must be tackled in primary school, long before the age of university entrance. Prof Scott’s solution is to ask well-qualified, hard-working applicants, who have the misfortune to be middle-class, to pay the price for failed SNP education policies.

Carole Ford, former president, School Leaders Scotland, Glasgow --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THIS divisive debate of “I said this, you said that” between supporters and opponents of independence must come to an end (Letters, The National, December 30 – present).

We should agree if the statistics are correct that a majority of Scots-born voters voted Yes and a majority of voters born elsewhere in the United Kingdom, but eligible to vote in the referendum, voted No.

Dave Mcewan-Hill (Letters, The National, January 4) makes the point that “a majority of English residents in Scotland are pensioners” and I am delighted that Tony Martin (Ibid) is “launching local pensioners for Yes campaign”.

Hopefully, this initiative could become a nationwide campaign to encourage all previous No voting pensioners, regardless of place of birth, to see that their pensions and other entitlements would be safeguarded in an independent Scotland.

Hector Maclean, Glasgow APPARENTLY, according to Tuesday’s letters in The National, independence supporters like myself still have to persuade my own country men (those English people) who have settled in Scotland but who, apparently according to Scottish opinion as described in said letters, prefer to think of themselves as English Brits or Scottish Brits, but will not support Scottish Nats.

Unlike those other English (like myself) who voted for independence AND to stay in the EU. Maybe I’m a minority of one?

Alan Magnus-Bennett, Fife --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE problem of drunks clogging up hospital A&E departments is so acute that those in charge of the NHS say it now stands for “National Hangover Service”.

Drunks are responsible for a third of A&E attendances, rising to 40 per cent at weekends.

Over two years ago the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that drunks should not be treated in accident and emergency departments because getting intoxicated “is no accident”.

Drunks are diverting A&E medical staff from more urgent patients.

The Royal College of Nursing suggested that “drunk tanks” were needed over two years ago so why has there been no action from the NHS Mandarins?

Drunk tanks must be set up all over the country and their “residents” charged at least £200 for their overnight stay.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow