A misplaced sense of gloom

13th May 2011 at 01:00

I'm a great admirer of Sue Palmer and her work, but when I read some of her comments on her visit to Scotland last week, I wonder whether she isn't visiting another country of the same name, and whether perhaps she has made a wrong turning on the way to speaking at the Learning and Teaching Scotland conference "Towards the Vision".

Describing herself as at "home" in Edinburgh - she trained and taught here over 30 years ago - Palmer expresses her deep disappointment at an education system "where everyone is so terrified of sticking their head above the parapet that - despite devolution - education policy is constantly influenced by the flawed thinking issuing from Westminster".

This latter statement is so incredible I actually had to read it several times to make sure I hadn't misread it. Curriculum for Excellence is so diametrically opposed to educational policy south of the border it may as well have been written in a different language.

Further, in suggesting also that we should take a leaf out of the book of our Celtic friends in Wales, by dropping league tables, tests and targets, she has apparently failed to notice that, er, so has Scotland.

I'm sure that Sue's address to the LTS conference will have been positive, uplifting and inspiring, but I hope that she will also return home with a revised sense of the hugely positive strides forward that are being made in Scottish education, especially in the early years.

Bill Boyd, Independent Learning Consultant, The Literacy Adviser, Belleville Quadrant, Ayr.

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