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EIS stands firm against compulsory Scottish literature question

Education Scotland yesterday published the first 22 of 81 "professional focus papers", designed to set out the main differences between Standard grade and Intermediate courses and the new Nationals 4 and 5.

One of the first batch was for National 5 English - and the EIS union immediately reiterated its opposition to the decision to make it compulsory for all pupils to answer an examination question on a Scottish text.

Dave McGinty, acting assistant secretary, said the decision went against the spirit of the principles of Curriculum for Excellence and narrowed and limited pupils' exposure to Scottish literature. It also detracted from deep learning and critical thinking, he said.

Kenneth Muir, strategic director at Education Scotland, identified the key features of change in the new Nationals 4 and 5 as the emphasis on active learning, learning independently, collaborative learning and the requirement on pupils to take more responsibility for their own learning.

Pupils are not supposed to embark on National 4 and 5 courses until next year, but Mr Muir acknowledged that some teachers and pupils were already working on the courses if they had made subject choices in S2 last year.

"These papers are designed to provide a particular aspect of support to folk out there in schools who we know are hard-pressed in terms of doing their day job as well as developing new units and courses," he said.

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