A plea for more of what works

15th December 2006 at 00:00
For those who have waited anxiously for details of the review of the 3-18 curriculum, the recent publication of Building the Curriculum will have been disappointing.

There is still no detail of what we are supposed to teach, only lots more on the how and what the new guidance might contain when we finally get to see it.

I am still enthusiastic about creative teaching and the principles that A Curriculum for Excellence was developed to deliver but, as time marches on, I, and many others, begin to despair about ever seeing anything to enhance classrooms.

We were promised that it would not be delivered as a done deal, like 5-14.

Teachers, schools and interest groups would be able to comment and amend.

Yet we are still waiting. While we wait for the latest news from ACfE, the improvement agenda is far more of a reality and, given the need to prove to our many masters that we are worth our McCrone deal, it will continue to exercise the minds of schools and local authorities far more than a new curriculum. The tension between A Curriculum for Excellence and raising attainment has not yet been tested.

This could turn into a whine about initiative overload, so instead I would make a plea for more of what works.

The Assessment is for Learning programme, for example, is successful and has brought shared learning intentions into the vocabulary of pupils as well as teachers. Let's give all our attention to that good learning and teaching and let the rest of the initiatives be the vehicles, not the drivers.

If this is to be our priority, would the current advice on ACfE not be all that is required? A Curriculum for Excellence is alive and well in our schools. It is in our existing good practice, and just needs to keep its head above the rough seas of the attainment-driven agenda in order to deliver the improvement that we all want.

Susan Leslie

Chairwoman, Scottish Executive Committee, Professional Association of Teachers

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