There is deep scepticism about the guidance published by education secretary John Swinney last month, which was designed to help teachers reduce their workload by simplifying the requirements of Curriculum for Excellence into two pages of “dos” and “don’ts”.
The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association found that 68 per cent of 776 members surveyed said the advice, published by Education Scotland, would not have an impact on reducing teacher workload while 14 per cent said it would actually increase their workload.
General secretary Seamus Searson, who was surprised that the reaction was so negative, said “the document started well” but “failed to give clear direction to headteachers and teachers in the classroom”.
The following comments about the guidance were shared with TESS:
- “Nicely coloured pieces of paper that say very little and appear to be more aimed at primary teachers.”
- “A great many words have been used to say very little of any importance.”
- “I welcome the letter from Mr Swinney, and the statement seems to be a genuine attempt to acknowledge and deal with what has become a monster.”
- “Rather patronising – I have been teaching for 30 years and have been doing most of the suggested things for many of these years.”
- “The best thing they could have done to reduce my workload is to get rid of the unit assessment for National 5 and above, as these are pointless and bear no relevance to the final exam.”
- “The statement contains many welcome key messages but until assessment issues are addressed I do not feel my workload will change… The change required to [Scottish Qualification Authority] courses year on year is not sustainable and the quality of my teaching has significantly deteriorated.”
- “We are already doing and are aware of all these things…These documents are a complete waste of time as I am too busy trying to teach classes to take any notice.”