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Russell outlines help available for National 4-5 qualifications

Education Secretary Michael Russell has revealed plans to maintain the momentum of Curriculum for Excellence.

Speaking at the Scottish Learning Festival (SLF) in Glasgow this week, he also outlined the help that teachers would be able to seek as they get to grips with National 4 and 5 qualifications.

The initiatives highlighted by Mr Russell include:

extra support for parents and teachers to ensure understanding of the new qualifications;

every P7 child to have their own "P7 profile" by June 2012 to record their most important achievements;

legislation to ensure information provided by schools to parents is relevant and appropriate;

recommendations on attainment from a group of headteachers, due in December (TESS, 16 September).

"There is still much more to do to maintain the on- going success of Curriculum for Excellence. Today's action plan will see a better flow of information between local authorities, schools, parents and pupils, not least around the development of new qualifications, due for introduction from 2013-14," said Mr Russell.

Every secondary school will receive a copy of "draft specifications" for National 4 and 5 next month, and copies of a Scottish Qualifications Authority guide for teachers about the new qualifications.

Mr Russell added that, from November, SQA will meet secondary heads to discuss quality assurance for the new qualifications. In December, SQA and Education Scotland will hold "large-scale events" for every curriculum area to hammer out detail of the qualifications with teachers.

"If any secondary school identifies a department needing help to prepare for the new qualifications, they will get support from a team of subject and qualification experts, co-ordinated by Education Scotland," Mr Russell promised.

SQA will run over 300 "implementation events" for every subject area from May 2012, when details of the new qualifications will be in place.

In a question and answer session with teachers at the SLF, Mr Russell refused to be drawn on the McCormac committee's recommendations, but left the door open to relaxing the Government's targets on maximum class sizes.

henry.hepburn@tes.co.uk.

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