A new lease of life for advisers

17th March 2000 at 00:00
THE GLOOM that for several years attended the conference of educational advisers has lifted. The event at Bellshill last week (page four) was jolly and the mood as upbeat as you are likely to find at any educational gathering.

Immediate worries about whether the genus adviser was on the endangered list have evaporated, and that marks a significant change from three or four years ago when the emergence of small councils and annual cuts in funding made everyone nervous.

There will never be a return to the glory days of the 1970s when teachers could count on supportive advisers with whom they could share knowledge of new curricula and materials. Today's advisers vary in numbers rom authority to authority. There are still some specialists but more have evolved into a generic addition to the strength of the directorate. In so far as they spend time evaluating target-driven schools, they resemble inspectors and so have a more problematic relationship with classroom teachers than when they offered nly aid and comfort.

But an Inspectorate mantra is that in raising standards schools should not feel hidebound by guidelines. Local authorities are beginning to test new curricular autonomy and, if it is genuine, the role of the adviser in devising and supporting local ways to achieve national targets will be reinforced - gainful rather than glory days.

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