Changing needs

17th August 2001 at 01:00
THE inspectorate is now happy to go along with curricular flexibility, as even the Educational Institute of Scotland acknowledges. The education directorate is also signed up. And Learning and Teaching Scotland, which presides over the curriculum, points to the discretion schools have within the new 5-14 and secondary guidelines.

So the Scottish Executive's latest thoughts on the curriculum (page one) seem to be stating no more than the obvious: schools should be, and are increasingly, free to respond to the circumstances of pupils. But, in his campaign to be seen as the cuddliest Education Minister ever, Jack McConnell clearly believes that stating the obvious has its advantages.

The Executive's circular, however, can be no more than a holding statement. Pressure is building for a root-and-branch review of this whole area. There are challenges to the subject basis of the curriculum and to the time-honoured notions of "breadth and balance" in children's learning in favour of introducing more genuine choice and diversity into schools - if, indeed, schools as we know them are to be the models for the future. As experience of the critical skills approach shows (page three), there is a yearning for fundamental change in a profession not particularly noted for embracing it.

But it has to be change that works and The TES Scotland is pleased this week to start stimulating that debate.

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