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Glasgow teachers disillusioned over CfE, finds survey

Many Glasgow secondary teachers are voicing their concerns about curricular reform - and some are even leaving the profession, according to a union survey.

They fear that preparations are way behind where they should be and that the practical reality of Curriculum for Excellence is often the direct opposite of the philosophy it espouses.

The survey was issued in November to all 1,340 secondary members for whom the Glasgow EIS branch had email addresses, yielding 258 replies. The union will conduct a Scotland-wide survey on the same subject in 2013.

Respondents were overwhelmingly sceptical about readiness for CfE: 89 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that they felt secure in delivery of a "broad general education" to the present S3; 90 per cent thought that the process was increasing their workload.

One teacher had an S3 parents' evening approaching and was "very worried for the first time that I will come over as unprofessional and ill-prepared".

Some 90 per cent did not think there was enough time to implement National courses in S4; 95 per cent saw preparation for CfE's senior phase increasing teacher workload; and 77 per cent did not think their department or faculty was ready for the senior phase.

There were repeated concerns that pupils' choices were narrowing, contrary to the aims of CfE, and that bureaucracy and excessive detail were bogging down progress. One teacher described creating 110 new lessons, and resources for each one.

Many cited rising stress levels in the profession, and one response stated that "many excellent teachers are pushed out of education through frustration and disillusionment".

Other common complaints included predicted difficulties in pupils moving between schools with different approaches, and persuading universities that a two-year Higher was as useful as one taken over a single year.

One teacher's observation reflected the feelings of many: "Quite frankly, no one seems to have any idea what they are doing."

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: "The sample of this survey is very small, but we will of course take any concerns seriously.

"We continue to discuss CfE regularly at the local negotiating committee for teachers and monitor developments very carefully, and have carried out a lot of work on providing guidance on assessment and moderation.

"Position papers have also been produced for Glasgow teachers on the senior phase."

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