Acclaim for 'visionary' Liddell

4th December 1998 at 00:00
AN UNACCUSTOMED and startling response greeted the agenda-setting speech at the conference from Helen Liddell, the Education Minister - almost universal approval.

Keir Bloomer, director in Clackmannan, ADES vice-president and unflinching critic of centralist policy, uncharacteristically led the way. It was "the most comprehensive and visionary speech" he had heard from a minister on such an occasion, Mr Bloomer declared.

Mrs Liddell recently rejected invitations to address the Scottish Parent Teacher Council and the Headteachers' Association of Scotland, but directors were more privileged. They heard the minister expound on policy to match the recent spending commitment of Pounds 390 million, disbursed from the Scottish Office Excellence Fund.

Listing three challenges and three opportunities, Mrs Liddell stressed her commitment to Higher Still but focused on the early years of secondary school. "We have got to stop saying we are going to do something about S1-S2 and actually do it," she said.

For the start of session next year, Mrs Liddell called for children aged 5-14 to have a coherent curriculum following HMI guidelines; classes to be organised to allow for previous learning and individual needs across different subjects; and support from an identified teacher for monitoring progress towards targets.

Quality teaching should include "a substantial amount of direct interactive teaching", supported by appropriate homework.

Testing in 5-14 had to be reviewed to become more "reliable and consistent" (page one).

Mrs Liddell said the first opportunity was to develop a framework for continuing professional development; the second was to develop new community schools as the "next stage of comprehensive education"; and the third was to strengthen education for work.

Over the next three years the Scottish Office expects 3,600 teachers to take part in industry placements through the National Centre: Education for Work and Enterprise. Business people and entrepreneurs will be encouraged to visit schools to "enthuse young people about enterprise".

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,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today