Signing up for reform

Effective leadership leads to effective teaching. Neil Munro and Elizabeth Buie report on the Scottish Learning Festival

Around 1,200 schools have now registered their interest in developing aspects of A Curriculum for Excellence, Dan McGinty, the engagement team leader, told one of the conference seminars. This was "hugely successful", he said.

Mr McGinty said writing teams are now working on reshaping the curriculum across the eight areas and the results should be published near the end of this school session. The documentation would be "slim but significant" and there would be no attempt "to throw the baby out with the bath water".

Old standards have had their day

Local authorities have been told they must break "the historic link between pupil numbers and teacher numbers" to achieve the Scottish Executive's targets on teachers and class sizes, Peter Peacock, the Education Minister, told questioners after his conference speech. If councils insist on sticking with their old staffing standards, he'd consider what action might be necessary.

Peacock's pledge

"I'm not going to do anything rash on the future of Standard grade," Peter Peacock told the media. He said a lot of investment had gone into the course and he would take time to consider how it should be linked to the wider recognition of pupils' achievements which he is planning.

It's a novel idea

The era of the single class set text for 30 pupils is dead or dying, according to Raymond Soltysek of Strathclyde University.

He told a discussion event run by the Scottish Publishers Association and supported by The TESS that a single novel cannot meet the abilities and interests of all the pupils in a class, and more had to be done to develop carefully structured and monitored personal reading programmes.

Heights of ambition

Schools of ambition are already tackling the things that affect attainment and achievement, Denise Swanson, who leads the programme in the Scottish Executive, said. The schools were helping pupils assess their learning needs, develop their potential and forge relationships. Drop-out rates are falling and there are fewer pupils in the NEET group.

Ms Swanson said the aim was to have 50 secondary schools in the schools of ambition programme.

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