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Education Secretary: contact him on new site

"Engage with Education" launch

"Engage with Education" launch

The education Secretary will launch "Engage with Education" this week - an online discussion with teachers, pupils, parents and anyone else who wants to talk to him and his ministerial colleagues about matters educational.

Michael Russell told The TESS: "This is the launch of a public participation project - it is more than just a website.

"I gave a commitment at my first public meeting, at Heriot-Watt University in December, that I wanted to see more direct communication with the whole educational community. Since then, we have been working up some ideas."

Mr Russell acknowledged that "Engage with Education" was not as "snappy" a title as he would have liked, but hoped that it would still convey his desire to open a direct channel of communication.

Curriculum for Excellence is likely to dominate discussions, but participants can raise any topic they wish.

"The idea is to get a debate going and to respond to questions when they arise. We plan to hold online workshops linked to Glow, as well as using other forms of social media," said Mr Russell.

He and his education ministers Keith Brown and Adam Ingram will also write blogs from time to time, aimed at stimulating debate.

Mr Russell said he believed passionately in the importance of direct dialogue between ministers and the public and that people should talk frankly about difficulties when they arose.

"This is a country of five million people, which is small and manageable," he said. "One of the mistakes we constantly make is thinking of it as a country of 50 million."

The communication of Curriculum for Excellence has come increasingly under fire - notably from David Cameron, former director of education at Stirling. He was recently asked, along with Keir Bloomer, former chief executive of Clackmannanshire Council, to simplify key CfE documents.

Mr Russell said: "We can always improve our communication, but I am not going to criticise what has happened in the past; that is not the right thing to do."

elizabeth.buie@tes.co.uk.

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