A better learning experience

13th June 2003 at 01:00
The Helen O'RawePeter Wright correspondence in recent weeks has proved instructive.

Wright is correct to state that there is no reference to "curriculum managers" in A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century. The new structures which are raising their heads inconsistently across Scotland are simply that - new structures. They are largely untested and unproved.

That is not to say that they won't work. Time and, hopefully, some genuine research, will tell us whether young people experience better learning experiences as a result.

However, what remains of central importance to this debate is not the structures themselves, but the manner in which these structures are being introduced. New structures affect people's lives, and inevitably their sense of worth and professionalism. O'Rawe describes the process in Ross High, Tranent, as piloting for a year, "with the total co-operation and professionalism of all concerned".

This is surely the only way to introduce such fundamental structural change. All staff must be involved in the process if there is to be any chance of success.

The tragedy is that such professionalism is non-existent in other places.

While one authority has published possible models of structural change and insisted that all staff meet to discuss them, an-other has totally failed to consult those directly affected, simply announcing new structures to bewildered and anxious staff.

In a recent newspaper article, Alex Bell wrote: "People are not stupid.

Their desire for information should not be patronised . . . Trust is retained through shared information, not coercion."

He was, of course, writing about our political leaders. Yet exactly the same is profoundly true of professional school leadership. Those authorities and headteachers who have settled for the antiquated simplicity of making decisions about people's lives without even involving them in discussion will reap the whirlwind: mistrust, hostility, anger, disillusionment.

While this will not bother a newly elected Executive, McCrone must be appalled by such an abject lack of professionalism.

Andrew Bruce Polmont Road Laurieston, Falkirk

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