Big noise over small numbers
It was disappointing to read "Glasgow teachers disillusioned over CfE, finds survey" in the last issue of TESS. It was particularly disappointing that TESS felt it was sufficiently newsworthy to publish a survey which had so few respondents (a mere 19.25 per cent of those surveyed) and from this to make selective comments which certainly do not reflect the work which has been undertaken in Curriculum for Excellence, in Glasgow.
Contrary to the comment in the article that "no one seems to have any idea what they are doing", in Glasgow we have a very clear strategy for CfE implementation and regularly communicate this to all staff throughout the city. Our recently re-designed intranet has sections devoted to curriculum, learning and teaching and assessment. Staff can easily access all local and national advice, guidance and authority position papers on CfE from these pages.
In addition, we have developed a dedicated section to new National Qualifications, with a monthly online update on critical information and recent publications. Secondary staff are fully involved in developments in their own subjects through principal teacher networks. Since the start of this term, we have provided additional collegiate opportunities for the networks to meet and plan for developments. These opportunities have been well received.
We have a variety of well-planned supports for individual subjects. Using Scottish government funding, and responding to consultation with staff through principal teachers, Glasgow has seconded and commissioned teachers to provide resources, advice and visiting support for teachers in individual subjects. In addition, on request, we have purchased a number of commercial materials. The remainder of the monies will be downloaded to schools in January.
Throughout all of our CfE developments there has been full discussion with trade union representatives at the local negotiating committee for teachers. Indeed, union representatives have been complimentary about the way Glasgow is moving forward and have been particularly pleased with our approaches to assessment which is based on learning community and city-wide moderation of standards within the experiences and outcomes.
In light of the above and at a time when this authority, like many, is working extremely hard to engage with and respond to the needs of teachers, it is particularly perplexing, and indeed unhelpful, that information from such a small survey sample should be presented as significant within the pages of TESS.
Morag Gunion, head of curriculum, learning and teaching.