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Leadership - The new curriculum has 'lost the big picture'

The new Scottish curriculum will not be implemented by the Government's target date of 2010, according to one of its architects.

"It will not be implemented in the lifetime of anyone in this room," Keir Bloomer told a conference of education managers in North Ayrshire last week. "You may see it advanced, but that's another matter."

The most recent guidance document for A Curriculum for Excellence, Building the Curriculum 3, offered "tentative first steps", said Mr Bloomer, who served on the curriculum review group which produced the original vision for the reforms in 2004. However, it was a "barbarously written, ill organised and intellectually shallow document".

Those involved in developing the programme were treating ACfE as just another "small-scale, educational change", like the introduction of Standard grade. But it was a vision for the future, maintained the former chief executive of Clackmannanshire Council, who chairs the Tapestry Partnership. He criticised the Government for making "no serious attempt to sell the big picture to anybody".

"A Curriculum for Excellence was the Scottish education response to change in the outside world," he told The TESS. "It's about what you need to be a successful, contributing human being in the 21st century. That big picture has been lost. That, to my mind, is hugely problematic." Mr Bloomer made the comments while delivering a lecture, "What leaders do".

What headteachers do has changed over the years, he said, moving from a largely administrative role in the 1960s to a managerial role in the 1980s and now a leadership role. Heads today had to be visionary and to challenge the assumptions held by people coming into their schools, such as those held by staffroom cynics, which might act as impediments to their vision.

The most important characteristics for a leader were courage and integrity, he said.

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