CfE will not solve our education problems

28th May 2010 at 01:00

In reply to the letters on Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) from Brian Boyd (April 23) and Fearghal Kelly (May 14), may I suggest that the reality in the field is very different.

CfE is becoming the most prescribed curriculum that has been imposed on Scottish schools. Outcomes have to be met and skills utilised and developed. On top of that, different authorities are placing different checklists on lessons that schools create. Factor in other important developments, like combined courses such as those in science and social subjects (even music and art), and you have a heavily-prescribed curriculum that leaves teachers with little room for manoeuvre.

At no point has my department been able to choose the topics it wants, and has had to dedicate an extraordinarily large amount of time to this curriculum; other important tasks, like getting pupils through Standard grade and Higher courses, receive low levels of attention as a result. The brave new world that CfE was supposed to herald is fast becoming an organisational and administrative nightmare.

Brian Boyd states: "CfE is, in essence, about trust in teachers. No longer do they need to be told, from the centre, what to teach." On the contrary, thanks to the officious natures of school and local council managements, everything about this new curriculum is being directed from the centre.

Professor Boyd reflects an authoritarian and overbearing dismissal of people who have legitimate concerns about CFE, which is mimicked more seriously (even vindictively) by management teams across the country where cards are marked and grudges held against teachers who dare to voice criticisms.

Although he has had immeasurable experience of education in Scotland, his comments come from someone who has left the coalface of education and is now content to indulge in unrealistic idealism. A new curriculum will not solve the main problems in education in Scotland, which have more to do with lack of discipline in schools, cuts in resources, violence in schools and failure to support the legislation on additional support for learning.

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