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'Significant' concern over putting CfE into practice

Survey reveals doubts about the viability of resources, workload and timescale

Survey reveals doubts about the viability of resources, workload and timescale

A national survey by the EIS on implementation of Curriculum for Excellence confirmed "significant concerns over resources, support and information, workload and timescale", according to the union's leadership.

The online survey received 2,627 responses from 15,000 EIS members for whom it has valid email addresses (12,000 secondary, 3,000 further education) - a response rate of 20 per cent.

The national survey, described by general secretary Larry Flanagan as "by far the largest and most comprehensive yet conducted", nevertheless offered "some reassurance for the future of the CfE senior phase".

"Whilst the survey returns indicate that the level of teacher confidence regarding delivery is growing overall, the fact that around half of classroom teachers are still expressing a lack of confidence indicates that there remains a considerable amount of work to be done to ensure that all schools are ready to deliver courses leading to the new National qualifications examinations from this year," he said.

The promised course resource materials from Education Scotland and the additional assessment exemplification from the Scottish Qualifications Authority continued to be key to the successful implementation of the CfE senior phase, Mr Flanagan said.

"The EIS has already raised the issue of exemplification with the SQA and, while we appreciate that they themselves are under pressure, teachers need clarity on this vital issue," he added.

It was also a matter of "significant concern", he said, that so many schools had not been able to access the dedicated additional financial support promised by the Scottish government.

One respondent, a senior school manager, commented: "I believe that no one has any real grasp of what it is about. The more reassurances SQA and partners try to give, the more concerned and confused I have become."

Another said: "Education Scotland does not appear to know when teachers want to have freedom to develop independently or when they require clear guidelines."

A spokesman for the SQA said the organisation was working in "close and constructive partnership with the teaching profession". Specimen question papers for National 5 were being published yesterday (Thursday), along with a number of other support materials on the new qualifications; thousands of teachers had attended SQA events, with more than 90 per cent saying they found them helpful in their planning; and the first of three batches of information on the assessment of coursework had been sent out earlier this week.

Bill Maxwell, chief executive of Education Scotland, said: "The evidence we gather through inspections and through our ongoing dialogue with authorities, schools, colleges and individual teachers and lecturers shows that most are making good progress, with a number of recent inspections producing 'excellent' ratings."

He added: "We are determined to play our full role in supporting the delivery of CfE - from nationally produced materials, in conjunction with (the education directors' body) ADES, to events for teachers, and very targeted and tailored support for any establishment or authority requiring some additional help.

"Discussions with the EIS and a wide range of other stakeholders will help shape our ongoing support and advice, with the aim of helping more schools and colleges provide positive learning experiences and achieve excellent results for their learners."

elizabeth.buie@tess.co.uk

KEY FINDINGS

- 90 per cent of teachers and lecturers who responded feel their workload has risen over the past year, because of preparation for CfE senior phase implementation;

- More than half of all respondents (54.8 per cent) are barely confident (43.4 per cent) or not confident at all (11.4 per cent) of their department's state of readiness to deliver the new National qualifications from 2013-14;

- Well over half of respondents (55.3 per cent) rated materials published by the SQA to support preparations for the new qualifications as "not very helpful";

- Well over half viewed as unsatisfactory the quality and level of support supplied by local authoritiescolleges (60.3 per cent), Education Scotland (63.9 per cent) and the SQA (63.9 per cent) on the CfE senior phase.

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