Burying head in sand is wrong reaction

23rd October 2009 at 01:00

The reference in R Brown's letter of October 9 to the "decline in Scottish education these days", is presumably a reference to the recent furore whipped up in the press over the apparent lack of rise in attainment in certain subjects in Scotland compared with the rest of Britain, despite higher spending on education in Scotland post- devolution.

This story is sensationalist nonsense, insofar as it is a narrow study comparing only academic attainment in specific areas with no mention of other factors. It's rather ironic that R Brown is so concerned with samplings that are selected to "suit the agenda", that heshe fails to see the glaringly obvious conservative agenda behind this story.

That said, A Curriculum for Excellence is not beyond criticism: some aspects are so ethereal that we run the risk of massive inconsistency in its delivery. However, these are issues that those in education (in whatever capacity) can hopefully influence rather than allow the likes of the Daily Mail to set the agenda.

In my view, ACfE represents something incredibly progressive in its focus on pupil-centred learning and teaching, and developing people as rounded human beings - a move away from an exam-led curriculum. The progressive elements and ideology of the new curriculum must be defended, particularly at the initial stage.

R Brown's assertion that the discipline measures that were in place years ago have subsequently been eroded is further reactionary drivel. Returning to the "good old days" of "let's not deal with the problem, just get it out of my classroom" does not help young people deal with their behavioural issues, nor does it do anything to combat the causes of negative behaviour. Furthermore, it does nothing to mend broken relationships between teachers and pupils following classroom conflict.

I imagine R Brown just wants to get on with teaching hisher subject unhindered by pupils' behaviour. But we all now have a responsibility to the young people in our classrooms, which goes far beyond seeing them through certificate courses.

Sarah McDonald, Battlefield Avenue, Glasgow.

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