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New teachers answer curriculum worries

The TESS has run stories on the worries of professionals as we approach the full implementation of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), and on the unemployment of newly-qualified teachers. It is ironic that the two are coinciding.

It's our newly-qualified teachers in primary and secondary who will be the driving force and leaders of the new curriculum.

Teachers who have been in the profession a while bring a wealth of experience and expertise. But our new teachers, particularly BEd graduates and students who have been training for four years, bring knowledge of the theory, research, legislation and policy which underpin CfE - something many experienced teachers will not have.

They even have the experience of putting all this into practice as the curriculum has been developing. They know what's needed to implement and develop CfE now and in the future.

If we have a genuine desire to improve the experiences and outcomes of young people, we need to keep our new teachers. It will take a combination of their knowledge and the expertise of longer-serving teachers to make CfE a success.

This cannot be done when a large majority of new teachers are not finding employment. So employers and leaders in education need to think seriously about how they are going to tackle these issues.

I have another two years to go of my BEd until I'm a qualified primary teacher. I'm confident I'll be able to make use of the philosophies and opportunities which make up CfE; I'll be able to use the curriculum as a means of enhancing and improving the chances of children in my care. What I can't be sure of is that, after qualifying, I'll have a class to learn with.

Paul Campbell, BEd Primary Education (Hons) student, Strathclyde University.

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