Action, quick before we lose our way on guidance
For more than 30 years, "guidance" has featured as a central part of the secondary education system. It is a system unique to Scotland. That doesn't mean it wasn't in need of an overhaul, but it deserved better than the ambiguity of Happy, Safe and Achieving Their Potential.
This review left schools, heads and local councils with little in terms of direction, and left the hundreds of promoted members of staff with little hope or encouragement that their work was valued or, indeed, even safeguarded.
Guidance staff have been at the forefront of countless initiatives that have resulted in tangible improvements in achievement and attainment. To characterise their contribution as a support act is to misunderstand the links between attainment and emotional well-being.
These links are being increasingly realised, so now is not the time to abandon, or to leave to market forces, the future of guidancepastoral care. Action is needed, and soon, if Scotland is not to lose, through neglect, a unique and profoundly significant part of our educational heritage.
senior lecturer, Faculty of Education, Strathclyde University