One day extra for in-service training inadequate

Teachers are to be given one additional day of in-service training each year for the next three years to help them introduce the new curriculum.

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The move comes in the wake of the Education Secretary's decision last year to delay the introduction of A Curriculum for Excellence for a year to 2010. Teaching unions and headteachers have criticised the Scottish Government for asking teachers to make radical changes without sufficient support or resources.

Although they welcomed Fiona Hyslop's announcement of an additional day of continuing professional development, dedicated to ACfE, as a step in the right direction, it was still not enough, they said.

One day a year was a "drop in the ocean", the Educational Institute of Scotland pointed out. Councils must now take the lead and build programmes at a local level, said its education convener, Larry Flanagan.

Ms Hyslop told MSPs during a debate on the new National Qualifications on Wednesday that it was vital the Government got the implementation of the new curriculum right. "That requires time: time for teachers and schools to engage in dialogue; time for individual class teachers to consider how their classroom practice needs to change; and time for discussion within schools and across whole school communities," she said.

Mr Flanagan said: "This lays down a benchmark for local authorities to follow, but in and of itself is not anywhere near adequate."

Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, welcomed the additional days but also warned they were not sufficient on their own.

That sentiment was echoed by Margaret Alcorn, Scotland's national CPD co- ordinator, who said: "Three days over the next three years is not going to make that big a difference. It does help to give teachers time to think about how they are going to change their practice and organise their own learning at other times during the year. However, these days, while very welcome, will only be one small aspect of the professional learning teachers will be engaging in over the next few years."

David Cameron, president of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, said: "This is an appropriate response to concerns about staff development for this vital reform programme. We need to make sure that we take full advantage of this opportunity."

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