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Culture rethink toned down

The Secretary of State's curriculum advisers will start consulting on the "Scottishness" of the curriculum early in the new year.

But there is likely to be a subtle change in emphasis from the review by the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum of "Scottish culture and the curriculum", which led to a furore after the council refused to publish it. The new proposals, which the council insists will draw on the work of its review group, will be more widely concerned with "Scotland and the curriculum".

The new document, which will be submitted to the curriculum council's meeting in December, will be subject to consultation before going to Donald Dewar, the Secretary of State, the normal route for what is essentially Scottish CCC "advice" to the Government. The time-scale means it could then become one of the first documents to shape the thinking of the Scottish parliament.

Robbie Robertson, who co-ordinated the original review, claimed that the decision not to publish stemmed from the council's anticipation that the Scottish Office might fear it would give "unwelcome support" to the SNP, currently riding high in the opinion polls. The council "was nervous about any any discussion of national identity", he said.

This was strenuously denied by Bart McGettrick, the council's vice-chairman. He also rejected any criticism that the council was unduly sensitive because it is currently undergoing a quinquennial Scottish Office review.

Professor McGettrick, principal of St Andrews College, told The TES Scotland: "The only consideration which influenced us was our professional view of how the SCCC can best serve the Scottish educational community at this stage. "

He confirmed that one difficulty was that the review group's proposals would not have conformed to the new secondary curricular guidelines, drawn up by the council and due to be published by the Scottish Office in August.

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