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Give guidance system a chance to shine in McCrone proposals

Along with many others, I am alarmed at the omission of reference to guidance within the McCrone "agreement" document. The guidance system has been positioned at the centre of Scottish secondary education since the early 1970s.

It offers a unique and effective support system to pupils and parents. It makes a major contribution to the ethos and general well-being of the school and through this, it affects levels of achievement and attainment of Scottish young people. At its best, it offers a model of collaborative practice that draws together a range of professional services.

By omitting guidance from the proposed new promotion and management structure, it appears to be left as a hostage to local agreement as to whether or not it survives. This is without any debate or evaluation of the effectiveness of guidance. It is also a odds with a number of initiatives that are reliant on a vibrant and effective system of guidance for their success. These include the Higher Still entitlement, new community schools and a commitment to inclusive education. None of these initiatives can hope to succeed without a strong guidance system in place. Having recently been involved in producing a training video entitled A week in the life of a school guidance team, I know the extent and significance of the work carried out by guidance professionals. I hope that the next stage of negotiations recognises the place and contribution of promoted staff in guidance and offers them a secure future, not only for their own benefit, but for the general well-being of Scottish secondary education.

Michael Hough Senior lecturer, faculty of education, Strathclyde University

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