Another crisis in the curriculum

21st October 2005 at 01:00
The latest tale of woe from the curricular front (page one) underlines the difficult job facing reformers toiling in that particular vineyard. The report does, of course, come from the Scottish Mathematical Council and it has a vested interest. But its pessimism could well have been expressed by other defenders of the subject faith - plummeting morale, lack of support, weak leadership and concern for the future. The second of the education conversations marking our 40th anniversary reveals many of the tensions (Scotland Plus).

A great deal of confusion now surrounds the issue of who designs, develops, decides the curriculum. Is it the Scottish Qualifications Authority or someone other? On the one hand, the SQA assesses the curriculum while the Executive shapes it. On the other hand, the SQA often expects curricular grumbles to be directed at it.

In the good old days, before the flood, it was quite clear: the curriculum council did the curriculum up to age 14 and the old examination board did the curriculum from then on. Now it is all very murky and we get the SQA running "understanding standards" meetings to enable teachers to teach pupils how to pass the exams.

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