Curriculum journey begins

11th February 2005 at 00:00
I've been writing to The TES Scotland for too long to rise to Gordon Kirk's bait and get involved in a personal slanging match. In his original article on January 21, Gordon began by referring to his note of reservation to the Munn report and ended by saying he would have written another one to A Curriculum for Excellence. Now, he claims, any reference to the former is ad hominem.

However, the irony is that we are close to agreement on the central tenet of A Curriculum for Excellence which is that there has been, since Munn and Dunning and 5-14, too much central direction of the curriculum. We do indeed need to "get off the backs of schools and teachers," as he says, and trust them to do what Scottish teachers have always been good at - creativity, innovation and flexibility.

The journey towards a curriculum for the 21st century has only just begun and A Curriculum for Excellence was meant to provide a framework. The present curriculum is too rigid, too full, too fragmented and too inflexible.

Parents, from Tasmania or from Scotland, deserve the right to engage with curriculum planners and managers in meaningful discussion about what the school offers.

Provided the principles outlined in A Curriculum for Excellence are reflected in the curriculum on offer, there should be opportunities for local decision-making which are flexible.

The issue of what is "valuable and essential" in the curriculum is one which ought to be discussed with parents, employers, young people and teachers. It may not be easy to reach agreement but the four purposes of A Curriculum for Excellence are, I believe, a good starting point.

Brian Boyd University of Strathclyde

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today