Cfe faces a formidable barrier

Iain Smith

As one might have expected, Graham Donaldson's analysis of the Curriculum for Excellence process (TESS, 9 March) is excellent (although it is only those who have worked in HMIE who believe in the peculiar myth that "Scotland never went down the road of heavy national prescription").

The international research evidence overwhelmingly supports the strategy that Professor Donaldson advocates. In a sentence: curriculum development works best when it is approached on a basis of teachers working collegially on an intra-departmental, intra-school and inter-school basis, preferably with some expert coaching support.

This has worked successfully in some schools in Scotland. Indeed the Journey to Excellence videos provided by HMIE (on what is now the Education Scotland website) contain some excellent examples of this.

Unfortunately this mode of working is probably least used in Scotland for teachers in the 14-18 sector. This sad tradition was indeed fostered, as Graham Donaldson writes, by the model of development ultimately adopted for Standard grade. It is also a model that is demanding of time e.g. non- class contact time.

So Curriculum for Excellence in the upper secondary school (and indeed in the FE sector) faces a formidable barrier.

Iain Smith, University of Strathclyde, safeguarding and the law.

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Iain Smith

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