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Response to draft revisions 'positive'

PROPOSED revisions to the secondary curriculum guidelines have been widely welcomed despite criticism from some education authorities. The guidelines author, the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum, is pleased by the results of an independent scrutiny of responses to the August draft.

Of more than 350 respondents 76 per cent agreed that the guidelines would offer appropriate balance between direct guidance and flexibility. Ninety per cent said they were clear and easy to read, and only 13 per cent thought they did not provide a helpful guide.

Mike Baughan, SCCC chief executive, was concerned at the negative image conveyed through TES Scotland reports of the local authority responses, but he claimed that an SCCC meeting this week heard that analysis commissioned from the Scottish Council for Research in Education gave a truer picture.

Although 84 per cent of respondents thought that the draft provided an appropriate structure for the overall S1-S6 curriculum, almost a quarter said they disagreed with the appropriateness of the proposals for S1-S2 and S3-S4. There less criticism of S5-S6.

North Lanarkshire is the latest council to express concern about the lack of a more fundamental curriculum review. It described the draft as "restructuring" instead of the necessary "reculturing". But the SCCC meeting heard that of the first 16 councils to respond, 14 said the right balance had been struck, providing a sound basis for planning.

The guidelines, which offer philosophical justification for the curriculum, do not call for radical changes in the time spent on individual subject areas.

The final version will be sent to the Secretary of State in January. On publication it will be accompanied by a paper on pupil progression routes from S1-S6, the first in an advice series for teachers.

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