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GTC split on specialism

MEMBERS of the General Teaching Council for Scotland have reacted cautiously to their vice-convener's call for a 10-14 specialist teaching qualification and pressed for further research.

A starter paper by Professor Douglas Weir of Strathclyde University at last week's GTC meeting in Edinburgh fired members into a flurry of responses, ranging from outright hostile to sympathetic.

James Forbes, Buckhaven High, said the problems were not in the first two years but years three and four where pupils reacted against the burdens of assessment. Bill Guthrie, Perth High, said teachers were not to blame if they could deliver successfully in S3 and S4. The curriculum was at fault.

But Judith Sischy, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, said: "In our experience, when secondary teachers are in the 10-14 age range they know their specialism, but their methodology is all wrong."

There was a great opportunity for a review.

Bruce Robertson, Highland's education director, forecast that the post-McCrone agreement and cuts in teaching hours could allow more specialists to work in both sectors.

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