Camps divided on curriculum kick-off
The issue of whether Curriculum for Excellence should begin in August seems to be polarising along primarysecondary lines, if reports are to be believed. Primary staff seem geared up and eager to begin, and should probably be allowed to do so. Besides, there is some public disquiet over standards of literacy and numeracy, and starting then might help allay this.
In secondary schools, however, the subject-based curriculum is much less open-ended and traditionally geared to assessment. Many secondary teachers are unhappy with the vague nature of the aims of the new curriculum and unsure of its implications. Those aims should be expanded into clear-cut objectives, sufficiently prescriptive to allow course material to be written for them. Quality exemplar material, which can be modified to taste, should be supplied for the first few S1 teaching units, with more to follow later.
The current S1-2 courses need a rejuvenating shot in the arm. The proposed curriculum looks like it may provide this and follow it through to S3, but it is too important to fail for lack of suitably crafted teaching materials. Perhaps the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association is prudent in requesting a delay.
Dr Walter J MacCulloch, Aberchirder, Huntly.