A practically perfect way to reform scottish education

6th January 2012 at 00:00

As a retired head, I still retain a streak of Mary Poppins in my character. I think this is true of all heads, including those of my male colleagues who may wish to disguise it. Thus I propose a new year's resolution for all of us who care about Scottish education.

We need robust questioning and debate as we work together during a very significant period of reform. But could we avoid playground squabbles in which we simply denigrate or undermine any view or suggestion with which we disagree?

We should want challenging questions, just as we encourage pupils to think for themselves and query accepted wisdom. On the other hand, we also encourage them to engage in projects and enterprises.

It does not take much reading of online chatrooms to see that many members of the teaching profession are concerned; they deserve proper engagement and responses. Similarly, those tasked with leading reform need the freedom to respond openly and discuss difficulties.

The best modern approach to this I have seen recently is that of the Heriot-Watt University Crucible, a development programme for early-career academics, covering collaboration, interdisciplinarity, innovation and leadership. We need such a programme for school education, with plenty of challenge but no negativity.

Judith McClure CBE, convener of the Scotland China Education Network.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today