Education advisers' body disbands after 30 years

Elizabeth Buie

The organisation which has represented education advisers and quality-improvement officers for the past 30 years - and led some of the most innovative continuing professional development in Scotland - has disbanded.

The Association of Educational Development and Improvement Professionals (AEDIPS) - formerly the Association of Educational Advisers in Scotland - said it was "no longer feasible to continue to operate as effectively as it would expect in the present financial and educational climate".

"A combination of major factors - local authority financial and staff reductions, refocused plans by councils and government, and changing educational priorities - have made it increasingly difficult for members of the AEDIPS national executive to convene meetings and to organise their normal programme of annual conferences and regular seminars for local authority development and improvement staff," said Tommy Doherty, a former AEDIPS president, on behalf of the association.

Membership is understood to have slumped to around 40 recently - less than a quarter of what it was at its height in the early 1990s. In 2009, it stood around 90.

Brian Boyd, a former honorary president of AEDIPS, warned that the consequences of the demise could be "dire" and its dwindling numbers showed that CPD support at local authority level was under threat.

"CPD is crucial if Curriculum for Excellence is going to make a difference," said Professor Boyd, a member of the curriculum review group which set up CfE.

"I would have to hope that a national body would fill the gap, but I don't see any evidence that Education Scotland can," he said.

Walter Humes, who succeeded Professor Boyd as honorary president in 2008, said he was "sad, but not surprised" at the decision to wind up AEDIPS. Many of its members had experienced real conflict because they had had to switch to being "officers of the council" rather than "education professionals" - a move which had changed their relationship with schools.

elizabeth.buie@tess.co.uk.

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