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Seal of approval for good guidance

GUIDANCE is to be part of every school inspection for the foreseeable future and a report on the findings over the past five years will be published next year. Robert Hogg, the HMI for guidance, said that as part of the series of "Standards and Quality" reports, the area ranks alongside core subjects such as maths, English, and science.

He told the Scottish Guidance Association conference at Bannockburn: "That's the good news. Guidance will continue to be inspected - as part of the support provided for pupils - in every school."

Mr Hogg acknowledged that guidance teachers had to take on board many considerations, not least the need for multi-agency working. "It has become increasingly obvious there is a need to improve links with learning support, social work, health and community education. Many schools are finding this difficult to do - an in some cases at least, this is not because of schools."

The 30-year-old tripartite system of personal, curricular and vocational guidance was "still the key," Mr Hogg said. But there were tensions: the emphasis in schools on monitoring progress and setting targets was "possibly taking the eye away from the importance of the continuing essential needs of personal guidance".

One area of weakness emerging in his review of inspection reports was in management, planning and self-evaluation. He accepted that such tasks had to be carried out "over and above subject demands", however.

Mr Hogg also pinpointed the need for assessment of personal and social education. A teacher is being seconded for six months to the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum to help to ensure a "high quality programme in all schools in future".

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