All quiet on the Holyrood front

19th May 2000 at 01:00
NO MAJOR new changes are planned for the curriculum, the Children and Education Minister assured heads - while advocating permanent professional change. Sam Galbraith said he wanted "stability to allow things to settle down" and pledged there would be no "knee-jerk responses to some HMI report which shows there is a problem here or a problem there".

But Mr Galbraith urged the profession to adopt change as a way of life. If it did not, others would force change on it, as the medical profession now realised.

He declared: "For goodness sake, embrace change, lead it. Because if you don't, others come in and fill that vacuum."

Mr Galbraith again pressed teachers to view continuing professional development as an essential part of the job. He was surprised, for example, that so many objected to a system that was " a tool for improvement and door to opportunities".

Salaries and conditions were important in raising morale and status but teachers also had to look more closely at their professional responsibilities. "It is about time off, seeing new developments, discussing what is happening, researching what you are doing yourself and that is an area I intend to take forward. We are looking at a central college for teachers to develop that."

Tony Finn, head of St Andrew's High, Kirkcaldy, said teachers were most concerned about workload. Many of his staff worked "so long and so hard that I worry when they are my age they won't have anything else to give".

Stability was necessary but changes such as the Higher Still reforms had yet to be introduced fully and would take their toll. Teachers needed measures to cut bureaucracy and needless administrative repetition.

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