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EIS raises new fears over 5-14 timetable

Teacher concerns about the workload associated with the 5-14 programme will be reflected in stringent new guidelines from the Educational Institute of Scotland. These will upset enthusiasts for the programme such as Jim Anderson, the Government-appointed chairman of the 5-14 implementation committee, who in today's TES Scotland argues "passionately" for its completion in schools (TESS2, page five).

The EIS's guidelines, which would slow down the programme and undermine the assessment of pupil progress, will be considered by the union's executive council on January 26, when a revised paper from its education committee will be debated. Following a decision by the annual meeting last June to produce guidelines by the end of the year, the education committee prepared a paper for the executive council in November. This was rejected as not tough enough.

Fred Forrester, the institute's depute general secretary, accepted that there had been slippage in the timetable, but expects schools to be given advice after the executive council meets. The union has advised members not to use the A-E assessment terminology when writing reports on pupils.

Mr Anderson, director of education for Tayside, argues in a special article launching a TES Scotland series on primary education that 5-14 is among the initiatives "which must not only be seen through to full implementation but also nourished and sustained thereafter".

He accepts that the education system cannot cope with "infinite demands on its capacity to innovate", but points to help for teachers with forward planning, such as the package launched last autumn by the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum. The SCCC is also due to produce computer-based help with differentiation of work for individual pupils. He calls on the new councils to offer teachers their support.

Mr Anderson is adamant that failing to carry forward the 5-14 guidelines would be a "serious disservice" to children. "Much has already been achieved, " he adds, "and I think Scottish education should take some pride in this achievement."

A diametrically opposite tack is taken by May Ferries, a primary depute headteacher and vice-president of the EIS, in the second article in the series next week. She argues that "5-14 is destroying much of what was best in primary education, the actual 'good practice' that was supposed to be its genesis".

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