CPD 'woefully inadequate'

8th May 2009 at 01:00
Alarm for Government as teacher poll leads to warning that curriculum reforms could `collapse'

A curriculum for Excellence will "collapse on itself" unless urgent action is taken, say the authors of a survey which makes alarming reading for the Scottish Government.

The first Scotland-wide poll of teachers' opinions on the reform, by the Educational Institute of Scotland, warns that many schools risk failing to meet implementation deadlines. And, despite the major reliance on continuing professional development to deliver the reform, the survey shows that the vast majority of teachers have not attended nationally-run CPD events.

The union stresses that some overall progress is being made, but general secretary Ronnie Smith finds it "extremely worrying" that important areas remain unfamiliar to teachers. "Our message is that funding must be made available, CPD must be delivered and there must be meaningful engagement on a regular and continuing basis with every teacher and lecturer if A Curriculum for Excellence is to succeed," he said.

"The alternative, given the investment in terms of time and commitment of many, not least of teachers and lecturers in Scotland, does not bear thinking about."

The EIS sent questionnaires to 1,000 teachers, and received 417 valid replies, a "remarkably high" response attributed to strength of feeling within the profession.

While widespread support remained for the principles of the reform, teachers bemoaned a "failure to wholly engage the profession". There was a "clear message that the current timescale is likely to be unachievable for many schools".

A startlingly low number of teachers had experienced continuing professional development: 48 per cent had not been to any events organised by local authorities, and 86 per cent had not been to any national events run by bodies such as HMIE or Learning and Teaching Scotland.

Secondary teachers' dissatisfaction was "of particular concern", with 32 per cent rating CPD weak or unsatisfactory and 25 per cent giving the same verdict to out-of-school events.

"A clear message from the survey is that CPD provision, and teacher access to such, has been woefully inadequate at both local and national level," the report concludes.

Another "major cause for concern" is that significant numbers of teachers appear to have been bypassed by curricular reform: 11 per cent had not been involved in discussions on it, while 14 per cent of secondary teachers had not yet taken part in whole-school meetings.

A Government spokesman said ACfE was not "a big-bang, one-off event". He said: "Its development was the result of unparalleled involvement of the profession and all key partner agencies. Their input has been central from the earliest stage and well in excess of previous curriculum development."

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