Blame game in the CfE stew

27th May 2011 at 01:00

As a teacher of French with some 30 years' experience, I feel I must respond to last week's article about "despondent" key Curriculum for Excellence adviser George Smuga.

I am slightly amused - and bemused - to read that Mr Smuga blames the mainstream media for confusion over CfE. I can assure him that those responsible for CfE publications need not rely on the media to cause confusion - they are perfectly capable of producing meaningless jargon- riddled verbiage by themselves. Parents need to consult the media to receive any kind of meaningful direction about what may happen in Scottish education in the very near future.

Apparently, he is put out that a newspaper argued that CfE means some weaker students may face the "outside world" without externally-validated qualifications. Let me enlighten him: that is the plan!

As for the attitude of blinkered teachers, well, if by that he means teachers who ask questions and challenge the efficacy of some of the CfE measures, or the way CfE is being rolled out, then I have to stand up and say I am one of them. I would prefer the adjective "professional".

Mr Smuga's assertions about transition and fewer discipline problems in S1 leave me dumbfounded. I have serious concerns about incoming S1s' ability to cope with what they face in secondary. Over the past few years, I have witnessed an increase in low-level indiscipline and a decrease in learning skills - this at a time when responsibility and contribution are much vaunted as vastly improved at primary level through CfE.

Reading Mr Smuga's remarks has left me pretty despondent myself, and for much the same reasons - the blinkered attitude of those leading the reforms, who don't see (or hear) reasoned responses of fellow professionals who also want the best for their pupils.

Stuart Fernie, Invergordon Academy.

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