A lighter touch on the tiller
What is actually happening is a subtle and ambitious initiative, or set of initiatives. It is also complex. Teachers who expect, as someone once put it, to be given a document which will tell them what they are supposed to be teaching first thing on Monday morning, will be disappointed - although, hopefully, dinosaurs are a thing of the past. Instead, there is an attempt to weave some delicate threads which will knit together policy from the top and practice from the bottom.
There is a good reason for this: policy-makers got their fingers badly burnt over the implementation of the 5-14 and Higher Still reforms which backfired when the dirigiste approach accompanying them proved to be a reform or two too far. The culture which ensued in schools where teachers were expected to respond to micro-management of their teaching, backed by inspection, gave reform a bad name. That is why the Scottish Executive is now attempting to steer the tanker with a lighter touch on the tiller.
What has to happen now is that this policy-making approach is replicated in schools so that, as the curriculum reformers prepare to put their faith in the profession as a whole, the leadership in schools must put its faith in the classroom teacher. Set the parameters but provide the space for teaching - that must be the goal.